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Introductoky— Division I. Art-knowledge ; Historic Styles 
„ II. Truth, Beauty, Power, etc. . 
„ III. Humour in Ornament 









Decoeation op Buildings— Division I. General Con.siderations— Ceilings 

,, II. Decorations of Walls . 






Curtain Materials, Hangings, and Woven Fabrics generally 



Hollow Vessels— Division I. Pottery 

„ II. Glass Vessels 
„ III. Metal-work 



• • 


• • 


Stained Glass 



Conclusion . 






Decorative Design. 


Christopher Dresser, 

Ph.D., F.L.S., F.E.B.S., etc., 
Author of " The Art of Decorative Design" " Unity in Variety," etc. 


m mm. of art 

100 McCAUL ST. 

Cassell Pettef^ & Qalpijn 

London, Parls & New York. 

7 7-3 



1^- Y object in writing this work has been that of aiding in the 

ai-t-education of those who seek a knowledge of ornament 

as applied to our industrial manufactures. 

I A;h^p I have not attempted the production of a pretty book, 

but have aimed at giving what knowledge I possess upon 

the subjects treated of, in a simple and intelligible manner. I have 

attempted simply to insti'uct. 

The substance of the present work was first pubhshed as a series of 
lessons in the Techiical Educator. These lessons are now collected into 
a work, and have been carefully revised ; a few new illustrations have 
been inserted, and a final chapter added. 

As the substance of this work was written as a series of lessons for 
the Technical Educator, I need not say that the book is addressed to 
working men, for the whole of the lessons in that publication have been 
prepared especially for those noble fellows who, through want of early 
opportunity', have been Avithout the advantages of education, but who 
have the praiseworthy courage to educate themselves in later life, when 
the value of knowledge has become apparent to them. 

That the lessons as given in the Techiical Educator have not been 
written wholly in vain I already know, for shortly before I had completed 
this revision of them, I had the opportunity- of visiting a provincial town 
hall which 1 had heard was being decorated, and was pleasingly surprised 


to see decoration of considerable merit, and evidences that much of what 
I saw had resulted from a consideration of my articles in the Technical 
Educator. Tlie artist engaged upon the work, although having suffered 
the disadvantage of apprenticeship to a butcher, has established himself 
as a decorator while still a young man ; and from the manifestation of 
ability which he has already given, I hope for a brighter future for one 
who, as a working man, must have studied hard. If these lessons as 
now collected into a work should lead to the development of the art- 
germs which doubtless lie dormant in other working men, the object 
which I have sought to attain in writing and collecting these together 
will have been accomplished. 

Tower Cresst, Notting Hill, 
London, W. 

Principles of Design. 


Division I. 

There are many handicrafts in which a knowledge of the true principles of orna- 
mentation is almost essential to success, and there are few in which a knowledge 
of decorative laws cannot be utilised. The man who can form a howl or a vase well 
is an artist, and so is the man who can make a beautiful chair or table. These are 
truths ; but the converse of these facts is also true ; for if a man be not an artist he 
cannot form an elegant bowl, nor make a beautiful chair. 
I At the very outset we must recognise the fact that the beautiful has a com- 

i^> mercial or money value. We may even saj' that art can lend to an object a value 

greater than that of the material of which it consists, even when the object be formed 
of pi-ecious matter, as of rare marbles, scarce woods, or silver or gold. 

This being the case, it follows that the workman who can endow his productions 
with those qualities or beauties which give value to his works, must be more useful 
to his employer than the man who produces objects devoid of such beauty, and his 
time must be of higher value than that of his less skilful companion. If a man, 
who has been born and brought up as a " son of toil," has that laudable ambition 
which causes him to seek to rise above his fellows by fairly becoming their superior, 
^ I would say to him that 1 know of no means of his so readily doing so, as by his 

acquainting himself with the laws of beauty, and studying till he learns to perceive 
the difference between the beautiful and the ugly, the graceful and the deformed, 
the refined and the coarse. To perceive delicate beauties is not by any means an easy 
task to those who have not devoted themselves to the consideration of the beautiful 
for a long period of time, and of this be assured, that what now appears to you to be 
beautiful, you may shortly regard as less so, and what now fails to attract you, may 
ultimately become charming to your eye. In your study of the beautiful, do not be 
led away by the false judgment of ignorant persons who may suppose themselves 
possessed of good taste. It is common to assume that women have better taste than 
men, and some women seem to consider themselves the possessors of even authorita- 
tive taste from which there can be no appeal. They may be right, only we must 
be pardoned for not accepting such authority, for should there be any over-estimation 



cf the acxuiacy of this good tastej, serious loss of progress in art-judgment might 

It may be taken as an invariable truth that knowledge, and knowledge alone, 
can enable us to form an accurate judgment respecting the beauty or want of beauty 
of an object, a;id he who has the greater knowledge of art can judge best of the 
ornamental qualities of an object. He who would judge rightly of art-works must 
have knowledge. Let him who would judge of beauty ajjply himself, then, to 
earnest study, for thereby he shall have wisdom, and by his wise reasonings he will 
be led to perceive beauty, and thus have opened to him a new source of pleasure. 

Art -knowledge is of value to the individual and to the country at large. To 
the individual it is riches and wealth, and to tlie nation it saves impoverishment. 
Take, for examjile, clay as a natural material : in the hands of one man this material 
becomes flower-pots, worth eighteen-pence a " cast" (a number varying from sixty 
to twelve according to size) ; in the hands of another it becomes a tazza, or a vase, 
worth fi\c pounds, or perhaps fifty. It is the art which gives the value, and not the 
material. To the nation it saves impoverishment. 

A wise policy induces a country to draw to itself all the wenlth that it can, 
without parting with more of its natural material than is absolutely necessary. If 
for every pound of clay that a nation parts with, it c;.n draw to itself that amount of 
gold which we value at five pounds sterling, it is obviously better thus to part with 
but little material and yet secure wealth, than it is to part with the material at a low 
rate either in its native condition, or worked into coarse vessels, thereby rendering a 
great impoverishment of the native resources of the country necessary in order to 
its wealth. 

Men of the lowest degree of intelligence can dig clay, iron, or copper, or quarry 
stone ; but these materials, if bearing the impress of mind, are ennobled and 
rendered valuable, and the more strongly the material is marked with this ennobling 
impress the more valuable it becomes. 

I must qualify my last statement, for there are possible cases in which the 
impress of mind may degrade rather than exalt, and take from rather than enhance, 
the value of a material. To ennoble, the mind must be noble ; if debased, it can 
only debase. Let the mind be refined and pure, and the fully it impresses itself 
upon a material, the more lovely does the material become, for thereby it has 
received the impress of refinement and pnrity; but if the mind be debased and 
impure, the more does the matter to which its nature is transmitted become degraded. 
Let me have a simple mass of clay as a candle-holder rather than the earthen 
candlestick \\hich only presents such a form as is the natural outgoing of a degraded 

There is another reason wliy the material of which beautiful objects are formed 
should lie of little intrinsic value besides that arising- out of a considei'ation of the 


exhaustion of the country, and this will lead us to see that it is desirable in all cases 
to form beautiful objects as far as possilde of an inexpensive material. Clay, wood 
iron, stone, are materials which may be fashioned into beautiful forms, but beware of 
silver, and of gold, and o£ precious stones. The most fragile material often endures for 
a long period of time, while the almost incorrosible silver and gold rarely escape the 
ruthless hand of the destroyer. " Beautiful though gold and silver are, and worthy, 
even though they were the commonest of things, to be fashioned into the most 
exquisite devices, their money value makes them a perilous material for works 
of art. How many of the choicest relics of antiquity are lost to us, because 
they tempted the thief to steal them, and then to hide his theft by melting them ! 
How many unique designs in gold and silver have the vicissitudes of war reduced in 
fierce haste into money-changers' nuggets ! Where are Benvenuto Cellini's vases, 
Lorenzo Ghiberti's cups, or the silver lamps of Ghirlandajo ? Gone almost as com- 
pletely as Aaron's golden pot of manna, of which, for another reason than that 
which kept St. Paul silent, ' we cannot now speak particularly.' Nor is it only 
because this is a world ' where thieves break through and steal' that the fine gold 
becomes dim and the silver perishes. This, too, is a world where ' love is strong as 
death ; ' and what has not love — love of family, love of brother, love of child, love of 
lover — prompted man and woman to do with the costliest things, when they 
could be exchanged as mere bullion ijr the lives of those who were beloved?"* 
Workmen ! it is fortunate for us that the best vehicles for art are the least costly 

Having made these general remarks, I may explain to my readers what I am 
about to attempt in the little work which I have now commenced. My primary 
aim will be to bring about refinement of mind in all who may accompany me 
through my studies, so that they may individually be enabled to judge correctly 
of the nature of any decorated object, and enjoy its beauties — should it present any 
— and detect its faults, if such be present. This refinement I shall attemjit to bring 
about by presenting to the mind considerations which it must digest and assimilate, 
so that its new formations, if I may thus speak, may be of knowledge. We shall 
carefully consider certain general principles, which are either common to all fine arts or 
govern the production or arrangement of ornamental forms: then we shall notice the 
laws which regulate the combination of colours, and the ajiplication of colours to 
objects ; after which we shall review our various art-manufactures, and consider art 
as associated with the manufacturing industries. We shall thus be led to consider 
furniture, earthenware, table and window glass, wall decorations, carpets, floor cloths, 
window-hangings, dress fabrics, works in silver and gold, hardware, and whatever 

• From a lecture by the late Profes-or George Wilson, of Edinburgh. 


is a combination of art and manufacture. I shall address myself, then, to the 
carpenter, the cabinet-maker, potter, glass-blower, paper-stainer, weaver and dyer, 
silversmith, blacksmith, gas-finisher, designer, and all who are in any way engaged 
in the production of art-objects. 

But before we commence our regular work, let me say that without laborious 
study no satisfactory progress can be made. Labour is the means whereby we raise 
ourselves above our fellows ; labour is the means by which we arrive at affluence. 
Think not that there is a royal road to success — the road is through toil. Deceive 
not yourself with the idea that you were born a genius — that you were born an artist. 
If you are endowed with a love for art, remember that it is by labour alone that you 
can get such knowledge as will enable you to present your art-ideas in a manner 
acceptable to refined and educated people. Be content, then, to labour. In the case 
of an individual, success appears to me to depend ui>on the time which he devotes 
to the study of that which he desires to master. One man works six hours a day ; 
another works eighteen. One has three days in one ; and what is the natural 
result ? Simply this — that the one who works the eighteen hours progresses with 
three times the rapidity of the one who only works six hours. It is true that indivi- 
duals differ in mental capacity, but my experience has led me to believe that those 
who work the hardest almost invariably succeed the best. 

While I write, I have in my mind's eye one or two on whom Nature appeared 
to have lavishly bestowed art-gifts ; yet these have made but little progress in life. 
I see, as it were, before me others who were less gifted by Nature, but who 
industriously persevered in their studies, and were content to labom- for success; and 
these have achieved positions which the natural genius has failed even to approach. 
Workmen ! I am a worker, and a believer in the efficacy of work. 

We will commence our systematic course by observing that good ornament — 
good decorations of any character, have qualities which appeal to the educated, but 
are silent to the ignorant, and that these qualities make utterance of interesting 
facts ; but before we can rightly understand what I may term the hidden utterance 
of ornament, we must inquire into the general revelation which the ornament of any 
l^articular people, or of any historic age, makes to us, and also the utterances of 
individual forms. 

As an illustration of my meaning, let us take the ornaneut produced by 
the Egyptians. In order to see this it may be necessary that we visit a museum — 
say the British Museum — where we search out the mummy-cases ; but as most 
provincial museums boast one or more mummy-cases, we are almost certain to find 
in the leading country towns illustrations that will serve our present purpose. On a 
mummy-case you may find a singular ornamenl, which is a conventional drawing of 


Fig- 2. 


the Egyptian lotus, or blue water-lily* (see Figs. 1, -2, A), and in all probability you 
will find this ornamental device repeated over and over again on the one mummy- 
case. IXotice this peculiarity of the di-awing of the lotus — a peculiarity common to 
Egyptian ornaments — that there is a severity, a rigidity of Jine, a sort of sternness 
about it. This rigidity or 
severity of drawing is a 
great peculiarity or charac- 
teristic of Egyptian tb-aw- 
ing. But mark ! with this 
severity there is always 
coupled an amount of 
dignity, and in some cases 
this dignity is very ap- 
parent. Length of line, 
firmness of drawing, se- 
verity of form, and sub- 
tlety of curve are the great 
characteristics of Egyptian 

What does all this ex- 
press ? It expresses the 
character of the people 
■who created the ornaments. 
The ornaments of the 
ancient Egyjitians were all 
ordered by the priesthood, 
amongst whom the learn- 
ing of this people was 
stored. The 25i'iests were 
the dictators to the people 
not only oi religiun, but 
of the forms which their 
ornaments were to assume. 
Mark, then, the expression 
of the severity of character 

and dignified bearing of the priesthood : in the very drawing of a simple flower we 
have presented to us the character of the men wht> brought about its production. But 
this is only what we are in the constant habit of witnessing. A man of knowledge 

* This can be seen growing in the water-tanks in the Kew Gardens conserTatories, and in 
the Crystal Palace at Sydenham. 



Fig. :. 



writes with power and force ; wliile the man of wavering opinions writes timidly and 
with feebleness. The force of the one character (which character has been made 
forcible by knowledge) and the weakness of the other is manifested by his written 
words. So it is with ornaments : power or feebleness of character is manifest by the 
forms jJrodueed. 

The Egyjjtians were a severe people ; they were hard task-masters. When a 
great work had to be performed^ a number of slaves were selected for the work, and 
a portion of food allotted to each, which was to last till the work was completed; and 
if the work was not finished when the food was consumed, the slaves perished. We 
do not wonder at the severity of Egyptian drawing. But the Egyptians were a noble 
people — noble in knowledge of the arts, noble in the erection of vast and massive 
buildings, noble in the greatness of their power. Hence we have nobility of 
drawing — power and dignity mingled with severity in every ornamental form which 
they jjroduced. 

We have thus noticed the general utterance or expression of Egyptian drawing ; 
but what specific communication does this particular lotus make? ]\Iost of the 
ornaments of the Egyptians — whether the adornments of sarcophagi, of water- 
vessels, or mere charms to be worn pendent from the neck — were symbols of some 
truth or dogma inculcated by the priests. Hence Egj^tian ornament is said to be 

The fertility of the Nile valley was chiefly due to the river annually overflowing 
its banks. In spreading over the laud, the water carried with it a quantity of rich 
alluvial earth, which gave fecundity to the country on which it was deposited. When 
the water which had overspread the surrounding land had nearly subsided, the corn 
which was to produce the harvest was set by being cast upon the retiring water, 
through which it sank into the rich alluvial earth. The water being now well-nigh 
within the river-banks, the first flower that sprang up was the lotus. This flower was 
to the Egyjjtians the harbinger of coming plenty, for it symbolised the springing 
forth of the wheat. It was the first flower of spring, or their primrose (first rose). 
The priesthood, perceiving the interest with which this flower was viewed, and the 
watchfulness manifested for its appearance, taught that in it abode a god, and that 
it must be worshipped. The acknowledgment of this flower as a fit and primary 
object of worship caused it to be delineated on the mummy-cases, and sarcophagi, 
and on all sacred edifices. 

We shall have frequent occasion, while considering decorative art, to notice 
symbolic forms ; but we must not forget the fact that all good ornaments make 
utterance. Let us in all cases, when beholding them, give ear to their teachings ! 

Egyptian ornament is so full of forms which have interesting significance that 
I cannot forbear giving one other illustration; and of this I am sure, that not only 
does a knowledge of the intention of each form employed in a decorative scheme 


cause the beholder to receive a special amount of pleasure when viewing it, but also 
that without such knowledge no one can rightly judge of the nature of any 
ornamental work. 

There is a device in Egyptian ornament which the most casual observer cannot 
have failed to notice ; it is what is termed the " winged globe," and consists of a 
small ball or globe, immediately at the sides of which are two asps, and from which 
extend two wings, each vnng being in length alx)ut live to eight times that of the 
diameter of the tjall (Fig. -i). The dramng of this device is very grand. The force 
with which the wings are delineated well represents the powerful character of 
the protection which the kingdom of Egypt afforded, and \\hich was symbolised by 
the extended and overshadowing piuions. 

I know of few instances where forms of an ornamental character have been 
combined in a manner either more quaint or more interesting than in the example 
before us. The composition presents a charm that few ornaments do, and is worthy 

Fig. 4 

of careful consideration. But this ornament derives a very special and unusual 
interest when we consider its jiurpose, the blow which was once aimed at it, and the 
shock which its producers must have received, upon tiuding- it powerless to act as 
they had taught, if not believed, it would. 

The priesthood instructed the people that this was the symbol of protection, and 
that it so effectually aiijiealed to the preserving sj)irits that no evil could enter 
where it was portrayed, ^^'ith the view of giving a secure protection to the inmates 
of Egyptian dwellings, this device, or symbol of protection, was ordered to be placed 
on the lintel (the post over the door) of every building of the Eg\-ptians, whether 
residence or temple. 

It was to nullify this symbol, and to show the ^■ain character of the Egyptian 
gods, that Closes was commanded to have the blood of the lamb slain at the passover 
placed upon the lintel, in the very position of this winged globe. It was also enjoined 
as a further duty that the blood be sprinkled on the door-post ; but this was merely 
a new duty, tending further to show that even in position, as well as in nature, this 
winged globo was powerless to secure protection. This de^•ice, then, is of special 
interest, both as a symbolic ornament and as thro'n-ing light on Scripture history. 

Besides the two ornamental forms mentioned — i.e., the lotus and the winged 
globe — we might notice many othei-s also of great interest, but our space will not 


enable us to do so; further information may, however, be got from the South 
Kensington Museum library,* where several interesting works on Egyjrtian ornament 
maybe seen; — from the "Grammar of Ornament" by Mr. Owen Jones, — the works on 
Egypt by Sir Gardiner Wilkinson ; and, esi^eeially, — by a visit to the Egyptian Court ' 
of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, and by a careful perusal of the hand-book to 
that court.f Aluch might also be said respecting Egyjitian architecture, but on this 
we can say little here ; yet, as the columns of the temples are of a very ornamental 
character, we may notice that in most cases they were formed of a bundle of papyrus I 
stems bound together by thongs or straps — ^^the heads of the plant forming the capital 
of the column, and the stems the shaft (Fig. .5). In some cases the lotus was sub- 
stituted for the papyrus ; and in other instances 
the palm-leaf was used in a similar way ; these 
moditications can be seen in the Egyptian Court 
at Sydenham with great advantage, and many 
varieties of form resulting from the use of the 
one plant, as of the papyrus, may also there be 

We have here an opportunity of noticing how 
the mode of building, however simple or primitive 
in character, first employed by a nation may 
become embodied in its ultimate architecture ; for, 
undoubtedly, the rude houses first erected in Egypt 
were formed largely of bundles of the papyrus, 
which were gathered from the ri\'er-side — for 
wood was rare in Egypt — and, ultimately, when 
buildings were formed of stone, an attempt was 
made at imitating in the new material the form 
which the old reeds presented. But mark, the imitation was no gross copy of the 
original work, but a well-considered and jjerfectly idealised work, substituting for 
the bundle of reeds a work having the true architectural qualities of a noble-looking 
and useful column. We must now pass from the ornament of the Egyptians to 
that of the Greeks, and here we meet with decorative forms Laving a different 
object and different aim from those already considered. 

* Any person can have admission to the South Kensington Museum Art library and its 
Educational library, for a week, by payment of sixpence. 

t A hand-book to each of the historic courts erected in the Sydenham Palace was prepared at 
the time the courts were built. These are still to be got in the Literary department, in the north-east 
gallery of the building. They are all worthy of careful study. 

t The papyrus was the plant fi-om which Egyptian paper was made. It was nlso the bulrush of 
the Scriptures, iu which the infant Moses was found. 


Egyptian ornament was symbolical in character. Its individual forms had 
specific meanings — the purport of each shape being taught by the priests — but. we 
find no such thing as symbolism in Greek decoration. The Greeks were a refined 
people, who sought not to express their power by their art-works so much as their 
refinement. Before the mental eye they always had a perfect ideal, and their most 
earnest efforts were made at the realisation of the perfections of the mental 
conception of absolute refinement. In one respect the Greeks resembled the 
Egyptians, for they rarely created new forms. When once a form became sacred to 
the Egyptians, it could not be altered ; but with the Greeks, while bound by no such 
law, the love of old forms was great ; yet the Greeks did not seek simply to 
reproduce what they had before created, but laboured hard to improve and refine 
what they had before done ; and even through succeeding centuries they worked at 
the refinement of simple forms and ornamental compositions, which have become 
characteristic of them as a people. 

The general expression of Greek art is that of refinement, and the manner in 
which the delicately cultivated taste of some of the Greeks is expressed by their 
ornaments is astonishing. One decorative device, which we term the Greek 
Anthemion, may be regarded as their principal ornament — (the original ornamental 
composition by one of my pupils, Fig 6, consists primarily of three anthemions) 
— and the variety of refined forms in which it appears is most interesting. 

But it must not be thought that the Greek ornaments and architectural forms 
present nothing but refinement made manifest in form, for this is not the case. 
Great as is the refinement of some of these forms, we yet notice that they speak of 
more than the perfected taste of their producers, for they reveal to us this fact — that 
their creators had great knowledge of natural forces and the laws by which natural 
forces are governed. This becomes apparent in a marked degree when we inquire 
into the manner in which they arranged the proportion of the various parts of their 
works to the whole, and especially by a consideration of the subtle nature of the 
curves which they employed both in architectural members and in decorative forms ; 
but into this we must not now inquire. Yet, by way of throwing some faint light 
upon the manner in which knowledge is embodied in Greek forms, I may refer to 
the Doric column, such as was employed in the Parthenon at Athens* (Fig. 7) . The 
idea presented by this column is that of energetic upward growth which has coms 
in contact with some superposed mass, the weight of which presses upon the 
column from above, while the energy of the upward growth causes the column 
to appear fully equal to the task of supporting the superincumbent structure. Mark 
this — ^that by pressure from above, or weight, the shaft of the column is distended, 

* A capital, and portion of the shaft, of one of these columns are to be seen in the British 
Museum Sculpture-room, and a cast of the same at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham. This Doric 
column is employed in the Greek Court of the Crystal Palace. 




or bent out, about one-third of the distance from its base to its apex (just where 
this distension would occur, were the column formed of a slightly plastic material). 

Fig. 7. 

Fig. 6. 

and yet this distension of the shaft is not such as to give any idea of weakness, for 
the column appears to rise with the energy of such vigorous life as to be more than 
able to bear the weight wliich it has to sustain. 

Mark also the singularly delicate cm-ve of the capital of the column, which 



appears as a slightly plastic cushion intervening between the shaft and the supei'- 
incumbent mass which it has to support. The delicacy and refinement of form 
presented by this capital is perhaps greater than that of any other with which we 
are acquainted. 

The same principb of life and energy coming in contact with resistance or 
pressure from above is constantly met with in the enrichments of Greek cornices 
and mouldings ; but having called attention to the fact, I must leave the student to 
observe, and think upon, these interesting subjects for himself. Let me, however, 
say that there are few classic buildings in England which will aid the learner in his 
researches ; there is but little poetry in our architectural buildings, and but little 
refinement in the forms of the parts, especially in our classic buildings ; and, added 
to this, Greek art without Greek colouring is dead, being almost as the marble statue 
to the living form. For the purposes of my readers, the Greek Court at the Crystal 
Palace will be the best example for study. 

I might now review Roman ornament, and show that in the hour of pride the 
materials of which the Roman works were formed were considered, rather than 
the shapes which they assumed ; and how we thus get little worthy of praise from 
the all-conquering Romans — how the sunny climate and religious superstitions of the 
East called forth the gorgeous and beautiful developments of art which have existed, 
or still exist, with the Persians, Indians, Turks, Moors, Chinese, and Japanese ; but 
I have not space to do so ; yet all the forms of ornament which these people have 
created are worthy of the most careful and exhaiistive consideration, as they present 
art-qualities of the highest kind. I know of no ornament more intricately beautiful 
and mingled than the Persian- — no geometrical strapwork, or systems of interlacing 
lines, so rich as those of the Moors (the Alhambraic) — no fabrics so gorgeous as 
those of India — none so quaintly harmonious as those of China; and Japan can 
supply the world with the most beautiful domestic articles that we can anywhere 

We must pass on, however, to what we may term Christian art, or that develop- 
ment of ornament which had its rise with the Christian religion, and has associated 
itself in a special manner with Christianity. 

Neither the Egyptians nor early Greeks appear to have used the arch structurally 
in their buildings ; the Romans, however, had the round arch as a primary structural 
element. This round arch v,-as also used by the Byzantines, and amongst their 
ornaments we find those combinations of circles, or parts of circles, which so constantly 
recur in later times in Gothic architecture and Gothic ornament. Norman buildings, 
again, show us the round arch, and present us with such intersected arcs as would 
naturally suggest the pointed arch of later times, with which came the full development 
of Gothic or Christian architecture and ornamenlation. There was a very fine and 
marvellously clever development of decorative art, enthusiastically worked at by the 



Christian monks of the seventh and eighth centuries, called Celtic, of which we have 
many beautiful examples in Professor Westwood's great work on early illuminated 
manuscrijits ; but what is generally understood by Christian or Gothic art had its 
finest development about the thirteenth century. 

Gothic ornament, like the Egyptian, is essentially symbolic. Its forms have 
in many instances specific significance. Thus the common equilateral triangle is in 
some cases used to symbolise the Holy Trinity ; so are the two entwined triangles. 
But there are many other symbols employed in Gothic ornament which set forth the 
mystery of the Unity of the Trinity. Thus in Fig. S we have three interlaced 
circles, which beautifully express the eternal Unity of the Holy Trinity, for the circle 

Fig. 8. 

Fig. 9. 

Fig. 10. 

alone symbolises eternit}', being without beginning and without end, and the three 
parts point to the Three Persons of the Godhead. A very curious and clever symbol 
of the Trinity is portrayed in Fig. i), where three faces are so combined as to form 
an ornamental figure. 

Baptism imder the immediate sanction of the Divine Trinity was represented 
by three fishes placed together in the manner of a triangle (Fig. 10) ; but so 
numerous were Christian symbols after the ninth century, that to enumerate them 
merely would occupy much s]iace. Every trefoil symbolised the Holy Trinity, every 
quatrefoil the four evangelists, every cross the Crucifixion, or the martyrdom of some 
saint. And into Gothic ornamentation the chalice, the crown of thorns, the dice, 
the sop, the hammer and nails, the Hagellum, and other symbols of our Lord's 
passion have entered. But, besides these, we have more purely architectural forms 
making gentle utterance : the church spire points heavenwards, and the long lines 
of the clustered columns of the cathedral direct the thoughts upwards to heaven 
and to Gild. 

Gothic ornament, having passed from its purity towards undue elaboration, 
began to lose its hold on the people for whom it was created, and the form of religion 


with which it had long been associated had become old, when the great overthrow 
of old traditions and usages occurred, commonly called the Reformation. With the 
reformation of religion came a revival of classic learning, and a general diffusion of 
knowledge, and thus the immediate necessity for art-symbols was passing away, it 
being especially to an unlettered people that an extended system of symbolism 
appeals. With this revival of classic learning came the investigation of classic 
remains — the exploration of Greek and Roman ruins ; and while this was going on, 
a dislike to whatever had been associated with the old form of religion had sprung 
up, which dislike tm-ned to hate as the struggle advanced, till the feeling against 
Gothic architecture and ornament became so strong that anything was preferred to 
it. Now arose Renaissance architecture and ornament (revival work), which was 
based on the Roman remains, but was yet remoulded, or formed anew ; so that the 
ornament of the Renaissance is not Roman ornament, but a new decorative scheme, 
of the same genus as that of the Roman. Here, however, all my sympathies 
end. I confess that all Renaissance ornament, whether developed under the soft 
sky of Italy (Italian ornament), in more northerly France (French Renaissance), 
or on our owa soil (Elizabethan, or English Renaissance), fails to awaken any 
feeling of sympathy in my breast ; and that it, on the contrary, chills and repels 
me. I enjoy the power and vigour of Egyptian ornament, the refinement of the 
Greek, the gorgeousness of the Alhambraic, the richness of the Persian and 
Indian, the quaintness of the Chinese and Japanese, the simple honesty and bold- 
ness of the Gothic ; but with the coarse Assyrian, the haughty Roman, and the 
cold Renaissance, I have no kindred feeling — no sympathy. They strike notes 
which have no chords in my nature : hence from them I instinctively fly. I 
must be pardoned for this my feeling by those who differ from me in judgment, 
but my continued studies of these stjsles only separate me further from them 
in feeling. 

It will be said that in my writings I mingle together ornament and architecture, 
and that my sphere is ornament, and not building. I cannot separate the two. The 
material at command, the religion of the people, and the climate have, to a great 
extent, determined the character of the architecture of all ages and nations ; but 
they have, to the same extent, determined the nature of the ornamentation of the 
edifices raised. Ornament always has arisen out of architecture, or been a mere 
reflex of the art-principles of the building decorated. We cannot rightly consider 
ornament without architecture ; but I will promise to take no further notice of 
architecture than is absolutely necessary to the proper understanding of our subject. 



Division II. 
In my previous remarks I have attemjited to set forth some of the first 
principles of ornament, and to call attention to the purjiort or intention of certain 
of the leading historic styles, and the manner in which they make utterance to us of 
the faith or sentiments of their producers. 

But there are other utterances of ornament, and other general expressions 
which decorative forms convey to the mind. Tl:-us sharp, angular, or spiny forms are 

more or less exciting (Fig. 11) ; while 
hold and broad forms are soothing, or 
tend to give repose. 

Sharp or angular forms, where 
combined in ornament, act upon the 
senses much as racy and pointed say- 
ings do. Thus " cut " or angular 
glass, spinose metal-work, as the 
pointed foliage of some wrought-iron 
gates, and other works in which there 
is a prevalence of angles and points, 
so act upon the mind as to stimulate 
it, and thus produce an effect opposite 
to repose ; while " Ijreadth " of form 
and " largeness " of treatment induce 
tranquillity and meditation. 

Nothing can be more important 
to the ornamentist than the scientific 
study of art. The metaphysical in- 
quiry into cause and effect, as relating 
to decorative ideas, is \cry important 
— indeed, all-important — to the true decorator. He must constantly ask himself 
what effect such and such forms have upon the mind — which effects are soothing, 
which cheerful, which melancholy, which rich, which ethereal, which gorgeous, 
which solid, which graceful, which lovable, and so on ; and in order to do this 
he must separate the various elements of ornamental composition, and consider 
these apart, so as to be sure that he is not mistaken as to what affects the mind 
in any particular manner, and he must then combine these elements in various 
proportions, and consider the effects of the various combinations on his own mind 
and that of others, and thus he will discover what wall enable him to so act on 
the senses as to induce effects such as he may desire to produce. 

Are we to decorate a dining-room, let the decoration give the sense of richness; 

Fig. 11. 


a drawing-room, let it give cheerfulness ; a library, let it give worth ; a bed-room, 
repose ; but glitter must never occur in large quantities, for that which excites can 
only be sparingly indulged in — if too freely employed, it gives the sense of vulgarity. 

In this chapter I have to speak primarily of Tndh, Beauty, and Poioer. Long 
since I was so fully impressed with the idea that true art-principles are so perfectly 
manifested by these three words, that I embodied them in an ornamental device 
which I painted on my study door, so that all who entered might learn the 
principles which I sought to manifest in my works. 

There can be morality or immorality in art, the utterance of truth or ot 
falsehood ; and by his art the ornamentist may exalt or debase a nation. 

Truth.— E.OV/ noble, how beautiful ; how righteous to utter it ; and how 
debasing is falsehood; yet we see falsehood preferred to truth — that which debases 
to that which exalts, in art as well as morals; and I fear that there is almost as 
much that is false, degrading, and untrue in my beautiful art as there is of the 
noble, righteous, and exalting, although art should only be practised by ennobling 
hands. It is this grovelling art, this so-called ornamentation, which tends to 
deba«;e rather than exalt, to degrade rather than make noble, to foster a lie rather 
than utter truth, which brings about the abasement of our calling, and causes our 
art to fail in many instances in laying hold of, and clinging to, the affections of the 
noble and the great. Ornamentation is in the highest sense of the word a Fine 
Art ; there is no art more noble, none more exalted. It can cheer the sorrowing ; 
it can soothe the troubled ; it can enliance the joys of those who make merry; it 
can inculcate the doctrine of truth ; it can refine, elevate, purify, and point onward 
and upward to heaven and to God. It is a fine art, for it embodies and expresses 
the feelings of the soul of man — that inward spirit which was breathed by the 
Creator into the lifeless clay as the image of his life — however noble, pure, or holy. 

This being the case, those who ignore decoration cast aside a source of 
refinement, and deprive themselves of what may induce their elevation in virtue 
and morals. Such a neglect on the part of those who can afford luxuries would be 
highly censurable, were it not that the professors of the art are for the most part 
false pretenders, knowing not what they practise, and men ignorant of the power 
which they hold in their hands. The true artist is a rare creature ; he is often 
unknown, frequently misunderstood, or not understood at all, and is not unfrequently 
lost to a people that prefer shallowness to deep meaning, falsehood to truth, and 
glitter to repose. 

We now see the utter folly of appealing simply to what is called "taste "in 
matters of art, and .the uselessness of yielding to the caprice (falsely called taste) of 
the uneducated in such matters, especially as this so-called taste is often of the 
most vulgar and debased order. We also see the absurdity of persons who employ 
a true artist interfering with his judgment and ideas. The true artist is a noble 


teacher ; sliall he be told, then, what morals he shall inculcate, and what lofty 
truths he shall embody in his works, or omit from them ? Do we tell the preacher 
what he shall say, and ask him to withhold whatever is refining and elevating ? 
We do not, and in art we must leave the professors free to teach, and hold them 

I responsible for their teachings. 

■^ If I thought that I had now convinced my reader that decorative art does not 

consist merely in the placing together of forms, however beautiful they may be 

individually or collectively ; nor in rendering objects simply what is called pretty; 

~^^-» but that it is a power for good or evil ; that it is what will elevate or debase — that 

^i) which cannot be neutral in its tendency — I would advance to consider its principles ; 

■<i but I cannot teach, nor can I be understood, unless the reader feels that he who 

^ practises art wields a vast power, for the rightful use of which he must be held 

{■ responsible. 

J All graining of wood is false, inasmuch as it attempts to deceive ; the effort 

being made at causing one material to look like another which it is not. AU 
" marbling " is false also : a floor-cloth made in imitation of carpet or matting is 
false ; a Bi-ussels carpet that imitates a Turkey carpet is false; so is a jug that 
imitates wicker-work, a printed fabric that imitates one which is woven, a gas-lamp 
that imitates an oil-lamp. These are all untruths in expression, and are, besides, 
^ vulgar absurdities which are the more lamentable, as the imitation is always less 

beautiful than the thing imitated ; and as each material has the power of expressing 

^ , beauty truthfully, thus the want of truth brings its own punishment. A deal door 
is beautiful, but it will not keep clean ; let it then be varnished. It is now preserved, 
and its own characteristic features are enhanced by the varnish, so that its indivi- 
duality is emphasised, and no untruth told. A floor-cloth can present a pattern with 
true and beautiful curves — how absurd, then, to try and imitate the dotty effect of 
a carpet; and the Brussels carpet can express truer curves than the Turkey carpet, 
^. then why imitate the latter in the finer material ? But perhaps the most senseless 

^ of all these absurdities is the making an earthen jug in imitation of wicker-work 

when if so formed it would be useless as a water- vessel. I can imagine a fool in his 
simplicity priding himself on such a bright thought as the production of a vessel of 
this kind, but I cannot imagine any rightly constituted mind jiroducing or com- 
mending such an idea. Let the expression of our art ever be truthful. 

Beauty. — I will say little on this head, for decorative forms must be beautiful. 
Shapes which are not beautiful are rarely decorative. I will not now attemj)t to 
express what character forms should have in order that they be considered beautiful, 
but will content myself by saying that they must be truthful in expression, and 
graceful, delicate, and refined in contour, manifesting no coarseness, vulgarity, or 
obtrusiveness. My views of the beautiful must be gathered from the series of 
chapters which wiU follow, but this I may here say, that the beautiful manifests 


no want, no shortcoming-. A composition that is beautiful must have no parts 
which could be taken from it and yet leave the remainder equally good or 
better. The perfectly beautiful is that which admits of no improvement. The 
beautiful is lovable, and, as that which is lovable, takes hold of the affections and 
clings to them, binding itself firmer and firmer to them as Jme rolls on. If an 
object is really beautiful we do not tire of it ; fashion does not induce us to change 
it ; the merely new does not displace it. It becomes as an old friend, more loved as 
its good qualities are better understood. 

Power. — -We now come to consider an art-element or principle of great 
importance, for if absent from any composition, feebleness or weakness is the result, 
the manifestation of which is not pleasant. With what power do the plants burst 
from the earth in spring ! With what power do the buds develop into branches ! 
The powerful orator is a man to be admired, the powerful thinker a man we esteem. 
Even the simple power, or brute force, of animals we involuntarily approve — the 
powe'-ful tiger and the powerful horse call forth our commendation, for power is 
antagonistic to weakness. Power also manifests earnestness ; power means energy ; 
power implies a conqueror. Our compositions, then, must be powerful. 

But besides all this, we, the professors of decorative art, must manifest power 
in our works, for we are teachers sent forth to instruct, and ennoble, and elevate our 
fellow-creatures. We shall not be believed if we do not utter our truths with 
power ; let truth, then, be uttered with power, and in the form of beauty.* 

There are other principles governing the production . and application of orna- 
ment which we must now notice, the first of which is utilify, for the first aim of the 
designer of any article must be to render the object which he produces useful. I 
may go further, and say that an article must be made not only useful, but as 
perfectly smited to the purpose for which it is intended as it can be. It matters 
not how beautiful the object is intended to be, it must first be formed as though it 
were a mere work of utility, and after it has been carefully created with this end in 
view it may then be rendered as beautiful as j'ou please. 

There are special reasons why our works should be useful as well as beautiful, 
for if an object, however beauliful it may be in shape, however richly covered with 
beautiful ornaments, or however harmoniously coloured, be unpleasant to use, it will 

* I have given in this chapter an original sketch (Fig. 12), in which I have sought to embody 
chiefly the one idea of power, energy, force, or vigour; and in order to this, I have employed such 
lines as we see in the bursting buds of spring, when the energy of growth is at its maximum, and 
especially such as ai-e to be seen in the spring growth of a luxuriant tropical vegetation ; I have 
also availed mjself of those forms to be seen in certain bones of birds which are associated with 
the organs of flight, and which give us an impression of great strength, as well as those observable 
in the powerful propelling fins of certain species of fish. 



100 McCAUL ST. 



Fig. 12. 


ultimately be set aside, and that wliich is more convenient for use will replace it, 
even if the latter be without beauty. As an illustration of this fact, let us suppose 
the balustrade railings of a staircase very beautiful, and yet fui'iiished with such 
projections as render it almost imj)ossible that we walk up or down the stairs without 
tearing the dress, or injuring the person, and how soon will our admiration of the 
beautiful railing disappear, and even be replaced bj' hate ! In like manner let the 
handle of a door, or the head of a poker, be so formed as to hurt the hand, and 
the simple round knob, or round head, will be pjreferred to it, however ornamentally 
or beautifully formed. 

In relation to this subject, Professor George Wilson has said : " The conviction 
seems ineradicable from some minds, that a- beautiful thing cannot be a useful thing, 
and that the more you increase the beauty of the necessary furniture or the 
implements of every-day life the more you lessen their vitility. IMake the Queen's 
scejjtre as beautiful as you j)lease, but don't try to beautify a poker, especially in 
cold weather. My lady's vinaigrette carve and gild as you will, but lea^.e untouched 
my pewter ink-bottle. Put fine furniture, if you choose, into my drawing-room ; 
but I am a plain man, and like useful things in my parlour, and so on. Good folks 
of this sort seem to labour under the impression that the secret desire of art is to 
rob them of all comfort. Its unconfessed but actual aim, they believe, is to realise 
the faith of their childhood, when it was understood that a monarch always wore his 
crown, held an orb in one hand and a scej)tre in the other, and a literal interjiretation 
was put upon Shakespeare's words, 

" ' Uneasy lies tlie head that wears a crown.' 

Were art to prosper, farewell to fire-proof, shapeless slippers, which bask like 
salamanders unharmed in the hottest blaze. An aesthetic pair, modelled upon 
Cinderella's foot, and covered with snow-white embroidery, must take their place, 
and dispense chilblains and frost-bite to miserable toes. Farewell to shooting-coats 
out a little at the elbows, to patched dressing-gov\Tis, and hair-cloth sofas. Nothing 
but full-dress, varnished boots, spider-legged chairs, white satin chair-covers, 
alabaster ink-bottles, velvet door-mats, and scrapers of silver or gold. It is 
astonishing how many people think that a thing cannot be comfortable if it is 
beautiful. ... If there be one truth which the Author of all has taught us in 
his works more clearly than another, it is the perfect compatibility of the highest 
utility with the greatest beauty. I offer you one example. All are familiar with 
the beautiful shell of the nautilus. Give the nautilus itself to a mathematician, and 
he will show you that one secret of its gracefulness lies in its following in its volute 
or whorl a particular geometrical curve with rigid precision. Pass it from the 
mathematician to the natural philosopher, and he will show you how the simple 
superposition of a great number of very thin transparent plates, and the close 


approximation of a multitude of very fine engraved lines, are the cause of its 
exquisite pearly lustre. Pass it from the natural philosopher to the engineer, and 
he will show you that this fairy shell is a most perfect practical machine, at once a 
sailing vessel and a diving-bell, in which its living possessor had, centuries before 
Archimedes, applied to utilitarian ends the law of specific gravity, and centuries 
before Halley had dived in his bell to the bottom of the sea. Pass it from the 
engineer to the anatomist, and he will show you how, without marring its beauty, it 
is occupied during its lifetime with a most orderly system of rowing and sailing 
tackle, chambers for food, pumps to keep blood circulating, ventilating apparatus, 
and hands to control all, so that it is a model ship with a model mariner on board. 
Pass it lastly from the anatomist to the chemist, and he will show you that every 
part of the shell and the creature is compounded of elements, the relative weights of 
which follow in each individual nautilus the same numerically identical ratio. 

" Such is the nautilus, a thing so graceful, that when we look at it we are 
content to say with Keats — 

" ' A thing of beauty is a joy for ever ;' 

and yet a thing so thoroughly utilitarian, and fulfilling with the utmost perfection 
the purely practical aim of its construction, that our shipbuilders would be only too 
thankful if, though sacrificing all beauty, they could make their vessels fulfil their 
business ends half so well.'' 

Viewing our subject in another light, and ■sxith special reference to architecture, 
we notice that unless a building is fitted for the purpose intended, or, in other 
words, answers utilitarian ends, it cannot be esteemed as it otherwise might be, even 
though it be of great sesthetic beauty. In respect to this subject, Mr. Owen Jones 
has said : " The nave and aisles of a Gothic church become absurd when filled with 
pews for Protestant worship, where all are required to see and hear. The columns of 
the nave which impede sight and sound, the aisles for processions which no longer 
exist, rood screens, and deep chancels for the concealment of mysteries, now no 
longer such, are all so many useless reprodiictions which must be thrown aside." 
Further, "As architecture, so all works of the decorative arts, should possess fitness, 
proportion, harmony; the result of all which is repose." Sir M. Digby Wyatt has 
said: " Infinite variety and unerring fitness govern all forms in Nature." Vitruvius, 
that " The perfection of all works depends on their fitness to answer the end proposed, 
and on principles resulting from a consideration of Nature itself." Sir Charles L. 
Eastlake, that " In every case in Nature where fitness or utility can be traced, the 
characteristic quality, or relative beauty, is found to be identical with that of 
fitness." A. W. Pugin (the father) : " How many objects of ordinary use are 
rendered monstrous and ridiculous simply because the artist, instead of seeking the 
most convenient form, and then decorating it, has embodied some extravagance to 


conceal the real purpose for which the article has been made." And with the view 
of pointing out how fitness for, or adaptation to, the end proposed is manifested in 
the structure and disposition upon the earth of plants, I have ^sTitten in a little work 
now out of print : " Tlie trees which grow highest upon the mountains, and the 
plants which grow upon the unsheltered plain, have usually long, narrow, and rigid 
leaves, which, owing to their form, are enabled to bear the fury of the tempest, to 
which they are exposed, without injury. This is seen in the case of the species of 
fir which grow at great altitudes, where the leaves are more like needles than leaves 
such as commonly occvtr j and also in the species of heath which grow upon exposed 
moors : in both cases the plants are, owing to the form of the leaf, enabled to defy 
the blast, while those with broad leaves would be shattered and destroyed. 

"Not only is the form of leaf such as fits these plants to dwell in such 
inhospitable regions, but other circumstances also tend to this result. The stems 
are in both cases woody and flexible, so that while they bend to the wind they resist 
its destroying influence by their strength and elasticity. In relation to the stem of 
the papynis," which is a plant constantly met with in Egyptian ornaments, "the late 
Sir W. J. Hooker mentions an interesting fact which manifests adaptation to its 
position. This plant grows in water, and attaches itself to the margins of rivers 
and streams, by sending forth roots and evolving long underground stems in the 
alluvium of the sides of the waters. Owing to its position it is exposed to the 
influences of the current, which it has to withstand, and this it does, not only by 
having its stems of a triangular form — a shape well adapted for withstanding 
pressure — but also by having them so placed in relation to the direction of the 
stream, that one angle always meets the current, and thus separates the waters as 
does the bow of a modern steam-ship." 

I might multiply illustrations of this principle of Jitness, or adaptation to 
purpose, as manifested in plants, to an almost indefinite extent; but when all had 
been said we should yet have but the simple truth before us, that the chief 
end which we should have in creating any object, is that of rendering it perfectly 
fitted to answer the proposed end. If those works which are beautiful were but 
invariably useful, as they should be ; if those objects which are most beautiful were 
also the most convenient — and there is no reason whj- they should not be so — how 
the beautiful would become loved and sought after ! Cost woxdd be of little 
moment, the price would not be complained of, if beautifid objects were works of 
perfect utility. But, alas ! it is far otherwise : that which is useful is often ugly, 
and that which is beautiful is often inconvenient to use. This very fact has given 
rise to the highly absurd fashion of having a second poker in a drawing-room set of 
fire-irons. The one poker is ornamental, possibly, but it is to be looked at ; the 
other is for use, and as it is not to be looked at, it is hidden away in some corner, or 
close within the fender. I do not wonder at the second poker being required ; for 


nineteen out of every twenty pokers of an ornamental (?) character wliicli I have 
seen during tlie hist few years would hurt the hand so insufferably if they were used 
to break a lump of coal with, that it would be almost impossible to employ them 
constantly for such a purpose. But why not abolish the detestable thing altogether ? 
If the poker is to be retained as an ornament, place it on the table or chimney-piece 
of your drawing-ronm, and not down on the hearth, where it is at such a distance 
from the eye that its beauties cannot be discovered. It is no use saying it would be 
out of place in such a i^osition. If to poke the fire with, its place is within the 
fender; if it is an ornament, it should be placed where it can be best seen — in a glass 
ease, if worthy of protection. 

I hope that sufficient has now been said upon this all-important necessity, that 
if an object is to be beautiful it should also be useful, to cause us to consider it as 
a primary principle of design that all olijects \\hich we create mud be useful. To 
this as a first law we shall constantly have to refer. When we construct a chair we 
shall ask, is it useful ? is it strong ? is it properly put together ? could it be stronger 
without using more, or another, material ? and then we should consider whetlier it 
is beautiful. When we design a bottle we shall inquire, is it useful ? is it all that a 
bottle should be ? could it be more useful ? and then, is it beautiful ? When we 
create a gas-branch we shall ask, does it fulfil all requirements, and perfectly answer 
the end for which it is intended? and then, is it beautiful? And in relation to 
patterns merely wc shall also have to make similar inquiries. Thus, if drawing a 
carpet design, we shall inquire, is this form of ornament suitable to a woven fabric ? 
is it suitable to the particular fabric for which it is intended ? is the particular treat- 
ment of the ornament which we have adopted the best possible when we bear in mind 
that the carpet has to be walked over, as it is to act in relation to our furniture as a 
background does to a picture, and is to be viewed at some distance from the eye ? and 
then, is it beautiful ? Such inquiries we shall put respecting any object the formation 
of which we may suggest : hence, in all our inquiries, I shall, as I love art, consider 
utility before beauty, in order that my art may be fostered and not despised. 

There are many subjects jet not named in these jiages which we ouglit to 
consider, but I must content myself by merely mentioning them, and you must be 
willing to think of them, and consider them with such care as theii- importance may 
demand. Some of them, however, we shall refer to when considering the various 

A principle of great importance in respect to design is, that the material of winch 
an object is furmeil should he used in a manner consistent with its own nature, and in 
that particular way in which it can he most easily " worked." 

Another principle of equal importance with that just set forth, is this : that 
when an object is about to be formed, that material (or those materials) tchich is for 
are) most ajijirojrriate to its formation should be sought and employed. These two 


propositions arc of very great importance, and the princij)les which they set forth 
should never be lost sight of by the designer. They involve the first principles of 
successful designing, for if ignored the work produced cannot be satisfactory. 

Curves will be found to be beautiful just as tlieij are subtle in character ; those 
which are most subtle in character being most beautiful. 

The arc is the least beautiful of curves (I do not here speak of a circle, but of 
the line, as a line, which bounds the circle) ; being struck from one centre its origin 
is instantly detected, while the mind requires that a line, the contemplation of which 
sliall be pleasurable, must be in advance of its knowledge, and call into activity its 
powers of inquiry. The elliptic curve, or curve bounding the ellip.-;e, is more beautiful 
than the arc, for its origin is not so strikingly apparent, being formed from two 
centres. The curve of the egg is more beautiful still, being formed from three 
centres.* As the number of centres necessary to the formation of a curve increases, 
the difficulty of detecting its origin also becomes greater, and the variety which the 
curve presents is also proportionally great; the variety being obviously greater as 
the number of the centres from wliich it is struck is increased. 

Proportion, lihe the curve, must be of a subtle nature. 

A sm-face must never be divided for the pm-pose of decoration into halves. The 
proportion of 1 to 1 is bad. As proportion increases in subtlety it also increases in 
beauty. The proportion of 2 to 1 is little better ; the proportion of 3 to 8, or of 
^ 5 to 8, or of •5 to 13, is, however, good, the last named being the best of those which 

• I have adduced; for the pleasin-e derived from the contemplation of proportion 

increases with the difiiculty of detecting it. This principle is true in relation to the 
division of a mass into primary segments, and of primary segments into secondary 
forms, as well as in relation to the grouping together of parts of various sizes ; hence 
it is worthy of special note. 

A princijile of order inust prevail in every ornamental composition. 

Confusion is the result of accident, while order results from thought and care. 
The operation of mind cannot well be set forth in the absence of this principle ; at 
least, the presence of a principle of order renders the operation of mind at once 

The orderly repetition of parts frequently aids in the jiroduction of ornamental 

The kaleidoscope affords a wonderful examjile of what repetition will do. Tlie 
mere fragments of glass which we view in this instrument would altogether fail to 
please were they not repeated with regularity. Of themselves repetition and order 
can do much. (Figs. 13 and 14.) 

* The ellipse and egg-shape here spoken of are not those which are struck by compasses in any 
way, for the curves of such iigm-es are merely combined .arcs, but such as ai-e struck with string, or 
a "tramel." 



AUemation is a piinnple of prima ri/ importance in, certain ornamental com- 

In the case of a flower (as tlie buttercup, or chickweed, for example) the 
coloured leaves do not fall over the green leaves (the petals do not fall over the 



Fig. 15. 


WM ^wV 

Fig. 14. 

Fig. 16. 

sepals), but between them — they alternate with them. This principle is not only 
manifested in plants, but also in many ornaments produced in the best periods of art 
(Fig. 15). 

If plants are employed as ornaments thei/ must not he treated imiiatirehj, hut must 
be conventionally/ treated, or rendered into ornaments (Fig. 16). 
A monkey can imitate, man can create. 


These arc the chief principles which we shall have to notice, as involved in the 
production of ornamental designs. 

Division III. 

Some other principles of a less noble character than those which wo have 
already noticed as entering into ornament yet remain to be mentioned. Man will be 
amused as well as instructed; he must be pleased as well as ennobled by what he sees. 
I hold it as a first principle that ornamentation, as a true fine art, can administer 
to man in all his varying mooils, and under all phases of feeliijg'. Decoration, if 
properly understood, would at once be seen to be a high art in the. truest sense of the 
word, as it can teach, elevate, refine, induce lofty aspirations, and allay sorrows ; but 
we have now to notice it as a fine art, administering to man in his various moods, 
rather than as the handmaid to religion or morals. 

Humour seems to be as much an attribute of ' our nature as love, and, like it, 
varies in intensity with different individuals. There are few in whom there is not a 
certain amount of humour, and in some this one quality predominates over all others. 
It not unf requently happens that men who are great thinkers are also great humorists 
— great talent and great humour being often combined in the one individual. 

The feeling for humour is ministered to in ornament by the grotesque, and the 
grotesque occurs in the works of almost all ages and all peoples. The ancient 
Egyptians employed it, so did the Assyrians, the Greeks, and the Romans ; but none 
of these nations used it to the extent of the artists of the Celtic, Byzantine, and 
" Gothic " periods. Hideous " evil spirits " were portrayed on the outside of 
almost every Christian edifice at one time, and much of the Celtic ornament produced 
by the early monks consisted of an anastomosis, or network, of grotesque creatures. 

The old Irish crosses were enriched with this kind of ornamentation,* and some 
of the decorative embellishments of these works are of extraordinary interest ; but 
those wlio have access to the beautiful work of Professor Westwood on Celtic manu- 
scripts will there see this grotesque form of ornament to perfection. As regards- the 
Eastern nations, while nearly all have employed the grotesque as an element of 
decorative art, the Chinese and Japanese have employed it most largely, and for it 
they manifest a most decided partiality. The drawings of dragons, celestial lions 
(always spotted), mythical birds, beasts, fishes, insects, and other supj)osed inhabi- 
tants of the Elysian plains, which these people produce, are most interesting and 

Without in any way going into a history of the grotesque, let us look at the 
characteristic forms which it has assumed, and what is necessary to its successful 

* Casts of one or two of these can be seen in the central transept of the Crystal Palace at 




production. We have said that the grotesque in ornament is the analogue of 
humour in literature. This is the ease ; but the grotesque may represent the truly 
hornl>le or rej)el]eut, and be simply repulsive. This form is so seldom required in 
ornamentation that I shall not dwell upon it, and when required it should always 
be associated with power ; for if the horrible is f eeljle 
it cannot be corrective, but only revolting, like a 
miserable deformed animal. 

I think it may be taken as a principle, that the 
further the grotesque is removed from an imitation of 
a natural object the better it is, provided that it be 
energetic and vigorous — lifelike. Nothing is worse 

Fig. 17. 

Fig. 18. 

than a feeble joke, unless it be a feeble grotesque. The amusing must appear to 
be earnest. 

In connection with this subject I give here a series of grotesques, with the 
view of illustrating my meaning, and I would fain give more, but space will not 
permit me to do so. 

The initial letter S, formed of a bird, is a characteristic Celtic grotesque 
(Fig. 17). It is quaint and interesting, and is sufficiently unlike a living creature 
to avoid giving any sense of pain to the beholder, while it is yet in a most unnatural 
position. It is, in truth, rather an ornament than a copy of a living creature, yet 



Fig. 19. 

it is so sug'gestivc as to call forth the thought of a bird. It should bo noticed, 
in connection with this Kgure, that the interstices between certain portions of the 
creature are tilled by a knot. 
This is well — the whole 
thing being an ornament, 
and not a naturalistic repre- 

Fig. IS is a Siamese 
grotesque head, and a fine 
sample it is of the curious 
form of ornament which it 
represents. IMark, it is in 
no way a copy of a human 
head, but is a true orna- 
ment, with its parts so ar- 
ranged as to call up the idea 
o£ a face, and nothing more. 
Notice the volutes forming 
the chin ; the grotesque, yet 
highly ornamental, lines 
forming the mouth and the 
upper boundary of the fore- 
head, and the flambeauant 
ears ; the whole thing is 
worthy of the most careful 

Fig. 19 is a Gothic foli- 
ated face ; but here we have 
features which are much too 
naturalistic. We have, in- 
deed, only a hideous human 
face with a marginal ex- 
crescence of leafage. This 
is a type to be avoided ; it 
is not di-oll, nor quaint ; but 
is simply unpleasant to look 

Fig. 20 is a fish, with the feeling of the grotesques of the Middle Ages. 


a good type, being truly ornamental, and yet sutticieutly suggestive. 

In order that I convey to the reader a fuller idea of my views respecting the 



grotesque than I otherwise could, I have sketched one or two orig'inal ilhistrations — • 
Fig. 21 being suggestive of a face, Fig. 22 of a skeleton (old bogey), and P'ig. 26 
of an impossible animal. They are inten- 
tionally far from imitative. If naturalistic 
some would awaken a sense of pain, as they 
are contorted into curious positions, whereas 
that which induces no thought of feeling 
induces no sense of pain. 

Of all grotesques with which I am ac- 
quainted, the dragons of the Chinese and 

Fig. 21. 

Japanese are those which represent a com- 
bination of power, vigour, energy, and passion 
most fully. This is to be accounted for by 
the fact that these peoples are believers in 
dragons. AVhen the sun or moon is eclipsed 
they believe that the luminous orb has bejn 
swallowed by some fierce monster, which they 
give form to in the dragon, and iqion the occurriMice of such a phenomenon they, 
with cans and kettles, make rough music, and thus cause the monster to disgorge 
the luminary, the brilliancy of which it would otherwise have for ever extinguished. 
I can understand a believer in dragons drawing these monsters with the power and 
spirit that the Chinese and .Tajianese do; but I can scarcely imagine that a disbeliever 
could do so — a man's very nature must be saturated with a belief in their existence 
and mischievous power, in order that he embody in his delineation such expres- 

Fig. 22. 


sion o£ the assumed character of this imaginary creature as do the Chinese and 

Although I am not 
now considering the struc- 
ture of objects, I may say 
that the grotesque should 
frequently be used where 
we meet with naturalistic 
imitations. We not unfre- 
quently see a figure, naturally 
imitated, placed as a support 
to a superincumbent weight 
— a female figure as an 
architectural pillar bearing 
the weight of the entab- 
lature above, men crouched 
in the most painful positions 
supporting the bowl of some 
colossal fountain. Natural- 
istic figures in such positions 
are simply revolting, how- 
ever perfect as works of 
sculpture. If weight has 
to be supported by that 
which has a resemblance to 
a living creature of any 
kind, the semblance should 
only be suggested ; and the 
more unreal and woodeny (if 
I may make such a word) 
the support, if possessing 
the quaintness and humour 
of a true grotesque, the 

It is not the business 

of the ornament ist to pro- 
duce that which shall induce the feeling of continued pain, unless there is some 
exceptional reason for his so doing, and such a reason is of rare occurrence. 



IlAvrNG considered some of the chief principles involved in the production of 
decorative design so far as " expression " goes, we come to notice that constant 
adjunct of form which has ever played an important part in all decorative schemes 
— namely, colour. 

Form can exist independently of colour, but it never has had any important 
development without the chromatic adjunct. JVom a consideration of history, we 
should be led to conclude that form alone is incapable of yielding such enrichments 
as satisfy ; for no national system of decoration has ever existed in the absence of 
colour. Mere outline-form may be good, but it is not satisfying ; mere light and 
shade may be pleasing, but it is not all that we require. With form our very nature 
seems to demand colour ; and it is only when we get well-proportioned forms which 
are graceful, or nolile, or vigorous, in combination with colours harmoniously 
arranged, that we are satisfie'. 

Possibly this feeling results from our contact with nature. The flowers appear 
in a thousand hues, and the hills are of ever-varying tints. What a barren world 
ours would appear, were the ground, the hills, the trees and the flowers, the sky and 
the waters all of one colour I Form wc should have, and that in its richest variety ; 
light and shade we should have, with ever-varying intensity and change ; but colour 
would be gone. There would be no green to cheer, no blue to soothe, no red to 
excite ; and, indeed, there would be a deadness, although the world be full of life, 
so appalling that we can scarcely conceive of it, and cannot/'ce^ it. 

Colour alone seems to have greater charms than form alone. A sunset is 
entrancing when the sky glows with radiant hues; the blue is almost lost in red, the 
yellow is as a sea of transparent gold, and the whole presents a variety and blending 
of tints which charm, and soothe, and lull to reverie ; and yet all form is indistinct 
and obscure. If so charming when separate from form, what is colour when properly 
combined with beautiful shapes ? It is difficult, indeed, for many of those for 
whom I write to answer this question, even by a mental conception, save by 
reference to nature ; for I could scarcely point to a single building in England 
which would be in any w.iy a satisfactory illustration of what may be done by the 
combination of forms and colours. There is a beauty in Art which we in England 
do not even know of : it does not exist around us, it is little talked of, rarely 
thought about, and never seen. A decorator is called in to beautify a house, and 


yet not one in fifty of the so-called decorators know even tlie first principles of their 
art, and would not believe were they told of the power of the art which they employ. 
They place on the walls a few sickly tints — so pale that their want of harmony is 
not very apparent. The colours of the wall become the colours of the cornice and 
of the doors, because they know not how to produce a harmony of hues ; and the 
result is a house which may be clean, but which is in every other respect an offence 
against good taste. I do not wonder that persons here in England do not care to 
have their houses " decorated," nor do I wonder at their not appreciating the 
" decorations " when they are done. Colour, lovely colour, of itself would make our 
rooms charming. 

There are few objects to which colour may not be applied, and many articles 
which are now colourless might be coloured with advantage. Our reasons for apply- 
ing colour to objects are twofold, and here, in fact, we see its true use. 1st. 
Colour lends to objects a new charm — a charm which they would not possess if 
without it ; and, 2nd, Colour assists in the separation of objects and parts of objects, 
and thus gives assistance to form. Tliese, then, are the two objects of colour. 
Mark, first, it is to bestow on objects a charm, such as they could not have in 
its absence. In the hands of the man of knowledge it will do so — it will make an 
object lovely or lovable, but the mere application of colour will not do this. Colour 
may be so applied to objects as to render them infinitely more ugly than they were 
without it. I have seen many a bowl so coloured at our potteries as to be much 
less satisfactory when coloured than when white — the colouring having marred, 
rather than improved, its general effect. Here, again, it is knowledge that we want. 
Knowledge will enable us to transmute base materials into works of marvellous 
beauty, worth their weight in gold. Knowledge, then, is the true philosopher's 
stone ; for, we may almost say, if possessed by the artist it does enable him to 
transmute the baser metals into gold. But a little knowledge will not do this. In 
order that we produce true beauty, we require much knowledge, and this can only 
be got by constant and diligent labour, as I have before said ; but the end to be 
gained is worth the plodding toil. Believe me, there is a pleasure in seeing your 
works develop as things of beauty, delighting all who see them — not the illiterate 
only, but also the educated thinker — such as words fail to express. Although 
there is no royal road to art-power, and although the road is long, and lies through 
much toil and many difficulties, yet as you proceed there is pleasure in fealing 
that one obstacle after another is cleared from your path, and at the end there is 
inexpressible satisfaction. The second object of colour is that of assisting in the 
separation of form. If objects are placed near to one another, and these objects are 
all of the same colour, the beholder will have much more difficulty in seeing the 
boundaries or terminations of each than he would were they variously coloured ; he 
would have to come nearer to them in order to see the limits of each, were all 



coloured in the same manner, than he would were they variously coloured : thus 
colour assists in the separation of form. This quality which colour has of separating 
forms is often lost sight of, and much confusion thereby results. If it is worth while 
to produce a decorative form, it is worth while to render it visible ; and yet, how 
much ornament, and even good ornament, is lost to the eye through not being ren- 
dered manifest by colour ! Colour is the means by which we render form apparent. 
Colours, when placed together, can only please and satisfy the educated when 
combined harmoniously, or according to the laws of harmony. What, then, are the 
laws which govern the arrangement of coloiu's ? and how are they to be applied ? 
We shall endeavour to answer these questions by making a series of statements in 
axiomatic form, and then we shall enlarge upon these propositions. 


1. Regarded from an art point of view, there are but three colours— -?'.«., blue, 
red, and yellow. 

2,. Blue, red, and yellow have been termed jirimojy colours ; they cannot be 
formed by the admixture of any other colours. 

3. All colours, other than blue, red, and yellow, result from the admixture of 
the primary colours. 

4. By the admixture of blue and red, purple is formed; by the admixture of 
red and yellow, orange is formed ; and by the admixture of yellow and blue, green 
is formed. 

5. Colours resulting from the admixture of two primary colours are termed 
secondaiy : hence purple, orange, and green are secondary colours. 

6. By the admixture of two secondary colours a tertiary colour is formed : thus, 
purple and orange produce russet (the red tertiary) ; orange and green produce citrine 
(the yellow tertiary) ; and green and purple, olive (the blue tertiary); russet, citrine, 
and olive are the three tertiary coloui'S. 


7. When a light colour is juxtaposed to a dark colour, the light colour appears 
lighter than it is, and the dark colour darker.* 

8. When colours are juxtaposed, they become influenced as to their hue. Thus, 
when red and green are placed side by side, the red a])pears redder than it actually 
is, and the green greener ; and when blue and black are juxtaposed, the blue mani- 
fests but little alteration, while the black assumes an orange tint or becomes "rusty." 

9. No one colour can be viewed by the eye without another being created. 
Thus, if red is viewed, the eye creates for itself green, and this green is cast upon 

* If a dark grey tint be mixed upon a white slab it will appear dark in contrast with the 
white, but if a small portion of this same grey is applied to black paper it will appear almost white. 

coLoi'R — conthast and harmony. 3.* 

whatever is near. If it views green, red is in like manner created and cast upon 
adjacent objects ; thus, if red and green are juxtaposed, each creates the other in 
the eye, and the red created by the green is cast upon the red, and the green created 
by the red is cast upon the green ; and tlie red and the green become improved by 
being juxtaposed. The eye also demands the presence of the three primary colours, 
either in their purity or in combination ; and if these are not present, whatever is 
deficient will be created in the ej^e, and this induced colour will be cast upon what- 
ever is near. Thus, when we view blue, orange, which is a mixture of red and 
yellow, is created in the eye, and this colour is cast upon whatever is near ; if black 
is in juxtaposition with the blue, this orange is cast upon it, and gives to it an 
orange tint, thus causing it to look " rusty.'' 

W. In like manner, if we look upon red, green is formed in the eye, and is 
cast upon adjacent colours ; or, if we look upon yellow, purple is formed. 


11. Harmony results from an agreeable contrast. 

12. Colours which perfectly harmonise improve one another to the utmost. 

13. In order to perfect harmony, the three colours are necessary, either in their 
purity or in combination. 

14. Red and green combine to yield a harmony. Red is a primary colour, and 
green, which is a secondary colour, consists of blue and yellow — the other two 
primary colours. Blue and orange also produce a harmony, and yellow and purple, 
for in each case the three primary colours are present. 

15. It has been found that the primary colours in perfect purity produce exact 
harmonies in the proportions of eight parts of blue, 5 of red, and 3 of yellow ; that 
the secondary colours harmonise in the proportions of 13 of purple, 11 of green, 
and 8 of orange ; and that the tertiary colours harmonise in the proportions of olive 
24, russet 21, and citrine 19. 

16. There are, however, subtleties of harmony which it is difficult to understand. 

17. The rarest harmonies frequently lie close on the verge of discord. 

18. Harmony of colour is, in many respects, analogous to harmony of musical 


19. Blue is a cold colour, and appears to recede from the eye. 

20. Red is a warm colour, and is exciting ; it remains stationary as to distance. 

21. Yellow is the colour most nearly allied to light ; it appears to advance 
towards the spectator. 

22. At twilight blue appears much lighter than it is, red much darker, and 
yellow slightly darker. By ordinary gaslight blue becomes darker, red brighter, 
and yellow lighter. By this artificial light a pure yellow appears lighter than 
white itself, when viewed in contrast with certain other colours. 



23. By certain combinations colour may make glad or depress^ convey the idea 
of purity, richness, or poverty, or may affect the mind in any desired manner, as 
does music. 


24. When a colour is placed on a gold ground, it should be outlined with a 
darker shade of its own colour. 

25. When a gold ornament falls on a coloured ground, it should be outlined 
with black. 

26. When an ornament falls on a ground which is in direct harmony with it, it 
must be outlined with a lighter tint of its own colour. Thus, when a red ornament 
falls on a green ground, the ornament must be outlined with a lighter red. 

27. When the ornament and the ground are in two tints of the same colour, if 
the ornament is darker than the ground, it will require outlining with a still darker 
tint of the same colour ; but if lighter than the ground no outline will be required. 


When commencing my studies both in science and art, I found great advantage 
from reducing all facts to a tabular form so far as possible, and this mode of study I 
would recommend to others. To me this method appears to have great advantages, 
for by it we see at a glance what otherwise is difficult to understand j if carefully 
done, it becomes an analysis of work ; and by preparing these tabular arrangements 
of facts the subject becomes impressed on the mind, and the relation of one fact to 
another, or of one part of a scheme to another, is seen. 

The following analytical tables will illustrate many of the facts stated in our 
propositions. The figures which follow the colours represent the proportions in 
which they harmonise : — 


Colours. Secondary Colours. 

Tertiary Colours. 


8 Purple 





5 Green 




Yellow . 

3 Orange 





Colours. Secondary Colours 

Tertiary Colours. 

Red . 


Blue . 

g • . 
g| Green . 

> Citrine 
11 i 

, or Yellow Tertiary 


Blue . 
Red . 

Red . 

cf- Purple . 
g Orange . 

13 ) 

> Russet 


, or Red Tertiary . 


Blue . 


Blue . 
Red . 

g^ Green 

; ^} Purple. . . 


[ Olive, 

13 ) 

Dr Blue Tertiary 




This latter table shows at a glance how each of the secondary and tertiary 
colours is formed, and the proportions in which they harmonise. It also shows 
why the three tertiary colours arc called respectively the yellow tertiary, the rod 
tertiary, and the blue tertiary, for int<i each tertiary two e(piivaleuts*of one primary 
enter, and one equivalent of each of the other primaries. Thus, in citrine we find 
two equivalents of yellow, and one each of red and Idue; hence it is the yellow 
tertiary. In russet we find two ecjuivalents of red, and one each of blue and of 
yellow ; and in olive two of blue, and one each of red and yellow. Hence they are 
respectively the red and blue tertiaries. 

BLUE 8. 



OLIVE 24. 





Fig. 24. 


Fig. 25. 

Figs 24 and 2.5 are diagrams of harmony. I have connected in the centre, by 
three similar lines, the colours which form a harmony j thu.s, blue, red, and yellow 
harmonise when placed together. Purple, green, and orange also harmonise (I have 
connected them by dotted lines in the first of the two diagrams). But when two 
colours are to produce a harmony, the one will be a jirimary coloui", and the other a 
secondary formed of the other two primary colours (for the presence of the three 
primary colours is necessary to a harmony), or the one will be a secondary, and the 
other a tertiary colour formed oi the two remaining secondary colours. Such 
harmonies I have ])laced opposite to each other ; thus blue, a primary, harmonises 
with orange, a secondary ; yellow with purple ; and red with green ; and the secondary 
colour is placed between the two primary colours of which it is formed ; thus, orange 
is formed of red and yellow, between which it stands; green, of blue and yellow; 
and purjile, of blue and red. In the second of the two diagrams we see that piu'ple, 
green, and orange produce a harmony, so do olive, russet, and citrine. We also see 
that purple and citrine harmonise, and green and russet, and orange and olive. 

Continuing this diagrammatic form of illustration, we may set forth the 
quantities in which the various colours harmonise : thus : — 

* An equivalent of blue is 8, of red 5, of yellow 3. 






o o o o 

O O O O 


o o 

o o o o 




O O O O 

harmonises with 


o o o 

O O O O 


o o o 



O O O O 

harmonises with 


O O O 



O O O 

. o 

O O 



O O O 

harmonises with 


O O O 


O O O 


O O O 




O O O O 

harmonises with 


O O O 

O O O O 


O O O 

O O O O 


O O O 



O O O 


O O 



O O O O 

harmonises with 


o o o 

O O O O 


o o o 

O O O 


o o o 


o o o 


o o o 




o o o o 

harmonises with 


o o o 

o o o o 


o o o 


o o o 


o o o 


o o o 


o o o 

To those wlio are al:)out to practise ornamentation, it is very important that 
they have in the mind's eye a tolerably accurate idea of the relative quantities of 
the various colours necessary to harmony, even where the colours are considered 
as existing in a state of absolute purity. We have rarely, however, to use the 
brightest blues, reds, and yellows vvhith pigments furnish, and even these are but 
poor representatives of the potent colours of light as seen in the.rainbow, and with 


the agency of the prism ; nevertheless, a knowledge of the quantities in which these 
pure colours harmonise is very desirable. The proportions in which we have stated 
that colours perfectly harmonise, and in which the primary colours combine to form 
the secondaries, and the secondaries the tertiaiies, are given in respect to the colours 
of light, and not of pigments or paints, which, as we have just said, are more or less 
base representatives of the pure colours of light. Yet certain pigments may, for 
our purpose, be regarded as representing pure colours. Thus, the purest real 
ultramarine we will regard as blue (cobalt is rather green, that is, it has a little 
yellow in it, and the French and German ultramarines are generally rather purple, 
or have a little red in them, yet the best of these latter is a tolerably pure colour), 
the purest French carmine as red (common carmine is frequently rather crimson, 
that is, has blue in it ; vermilion is much too yellow) , and lemon-chrome as yellow 
(the chrome selected must be without any green shade, and without any orange 
shade, however slight) ; and these pigments will be found to represent the colours 
of the prism as nearly as any that can be found. I would recommend the learner to 
get a small quantity of these colours in their powder form, substituting the best 
pale German ultramarine for real ultramarine, as the latter is of high price,* and to 
fill the various circles of om* diagrams, which represent the primary colours, with 
these pigments, mixing them with a little dissolved gum arabic and water — just 
sufficient to prevent the colours from rubbing off the paper. The secondary 
colours will be fairly represented by pale-green lake, often called drop-green, 
by orange-chrome — that of about the colour of a ripe, rather deep-coloured, 
orange-rind — and the purple by the admixture of pale German ultramarine and 
crimson-lake, in about equal proportions, with a little white to bring it to the same 
depth as the green. I cannot name any pigments which would well represent the 
tertiary colours. Citrine is about the colour of candied lemo7i--pee\ ; olive about the 
colour of candied citron-peel, and russet is often seen on the skin of certain apples 
called " russet apples," in the form of a slight roughness ; but this russet is in many 
cases not quite sufficiently red to represent the colour bearing the same name. Iron 
rust is rather too yellow. This colour should b^ar the same relation to red that 
the candied lemon-peel does to yellow. 

If the student will try carefully to realise these colours, and will fill up the 
circles in our diagrams wdth them, he will thereby be much assisted in his studies; 
but it will be still better if he prepare fresh diagrams on a larger scale, and use 
squares instead of circles. I should recommend, and that I do strongly, that the 

* Real ultramarine is sold lit 48 per ounce. The best imitation, or German ultramarine, is 
procurable at any oil-shop at about 3s. to 4s. per pound. The best carmine should be procurable 
at 6s. per ounce, but arlists' colourmen often charge .£1 Is., owing to the small dem.^nd for this 
pigment. The best chrome yellow (chrome yellow is Iiept in many shades) is about Is. Gd. pei 



student work out all the diagrams which I have suggested on a tolerably large 
scale, using the colours where I have used words. I should also advise him to do 
an ornament, say in red on a gold ground, and outline this red ornament with a 
deeper red ; to do a gold ornament on a coloured ground, and outline it with black ; 
and indeed to carefully work out an ornamental illustration of our propositions, Nos. 
24, 25, 26, and 27, and to keep these before him till he is so impressed by them as 
io feel the principle which they set forth. This should be done on a large scale in 
all our designing-rooms and art-workshops. 

As we shall have to refer to colours by naming pigments, and as I am 
constantly asked what j)igments I employ, I shall enumerate the jjaints in my 
colour-box ; but I shall place a dagger against those which I have in my private 
box, and which I do not supply in my offices ; but these I seldom use. Of yellows 
I have thing's yellow (not a permanent colour), fvory pale chrome, lemon-chrome 
(about the colour of a ripe lemon), middle-chrome (half-way between the lemon and 
orange-chrome), orange-chrome (about the colour of the rind of a ripe orange), 
tyellow-Iake, flndian yellow. Of reds — vermilion, carmine, crimson-lake. Of 
blues — tcobalt, German ultramarine, both deep and pale, Antwerp blue, indigo. 
Of greens— emerald, green-lake, pale and deep. Of browns — raw Turkey umber, 
Vandyke^ Venetian red, purple-brown, brown-lake. Besides these I have what is 
lalled celestial blue, which is a very pure and intense turquoise, vegetable black, 
Hake white, and gold bronze.* 

There are certain facts connected with the mixing of colours which must never 
be lost sight of ; thus, while the colours of light co-mingle without any deterioration, 
or loss of brilliancy, pigments or paints will not do so, but by admixture tend to 
destroy one another. This takes place only to a small extent when but two primary 
colours are combined ; but if any of the third primary enters into the composition 
of a tint, a decided deterioration, or loss of intensity, occurs. 

For this reason we employ many pigments, so as to avoid as far as possible the 
mixing of colours. But there is another reason why the great admixture of colours 
is undesirable. Colours are chemical agents, and in some cases the various pigments 
act chemically on one another. Of all colours yellows suJffer most by admixture 
with other colours: but this is accounted for by their delicacy and purity. For this 
reason I use a greater variety of yellow pigments than of red or blue.f 

Were it possible to procm'e three pigments devoid of chemical affinities, and 

* Some of these colours are not of a permanent character and could not be used in work 
intended to be lasting. I use them for patterns for our manufactures, where when the drawing is 
once copied in a fabric it is destrojed. Some of the brightest colours are unfortunately the most 

t Of all mediums in which colours can be mixed, parafEne is the safest ; it is without 
clicmical aflRnities, and is therefore well calculated to preserve pigments in their original condition. 


each of the same physical constitution, as of equal degrees of transparency or 
opacity, one truly representing the hlue of light, another the red, and another 
the yellow, vre should need no others, for of these we could form all other colours ; 
but as no pigments come even near to the fulfilment of these conditions, we have 
to employ roundabout and clumsy methods of arriving at desired results. 

There is one statement which I have made that, perhaps, needs a little 
elucidation, although the careful student may have seen the reason of mv asser- 
tion. I said that purple harmonised with citrine, green with russet, and orange 
with olive. I might have expressed it (and many would have done so) thus : — 
The complement of citrine is purple, the complement of russet is green, and the 
complement of olive is orange. A colour which is complementary to any other 
is that which, with it, completes the presence of the three primaiy colours : thus 
green is the complement of red, and red of green, for each, together with the colour 
to which it is the complement, completes the presence of the three colours. But in 
order to a harmony, the complement must be made up in certain proportions. Let 
us now refer to our second diagrammatic table, and we there see that citiine is 
formed of two equivalents of yellow and only one equivalent of red and of blue. 
Now, in order to a harmony, each primary should be present in two equivalents, 
as one is present in this quantity — i.e., the yellow. One equivalent of blue and 
one of red (both of which are wanting in the citrine) form purple ; hence purple 
is the complement of citrine, or the colour that with it produces a harmony. In 
russet one equivalent of blue and one of yellow are wanting, and these in com- 
bination are green — green, then, is the complement of russet. And in olive one 
equivalent of red and one of yellow are wanting — red and yeUow form orange, hence 
orange is the complement of olive. 

I have spoken of all colours as of full intensity and purity, but we have to deal 
also with other conditions. All colours may be darkened by black, when shades are 
produced ; or reduced by white, when tints are produced. Besides these alterations 
in intensity, a portion of one colour may be added to another. Thus, if a small 
portion of blue be mingled with red, the red becomes a crimson or blue-red ; or if a 
small portion of yellow be added to the red, the latter becomes a scarlet or yellow- 
red. In like manner, when yellow is in excess in a green, we have a yeUow-green ; 
or when blue is in excess, a blue-green ; and so with the other colours. Such 
alterations produce hies of coloiu-. 

AYe now come to the subtleties of harmony. Thus, if we have a yellow-red or 
scarlet — a red with j'ellow in it — the green that will harmonise with it will be a 
blue-green ; or if we have a blue-red or crimson — a red with blue in it — the green 
that will harmonise with it will be a yellow-green. This is obvious, for the following 
reasons : — Let us suppose a red represented by the equivalent niimber, five, with one 
part of blue added to it, thus causing it to be a blue-red or crimson. Were the red 


pure, there should be eleven parts of green as a complement to the five of red, of 
which g'reen eight parts would be blue and three yellow ; but the blue-red occurs in 
six parts, one of which is blue — there are, then, but seven parts of blue remaining 
in the equivalent quantity to combine with the three of yellow, one being already 
used; hence the green formed is a yellow-green, one of the equivalents of blue 
necessary to the formation of a true green being already in combination with the 
red, and thus absent from the green. 

The same reasoning will apply to the scarlet-red and blue-green, and, indeed, to 
all similar cases; but to take the case of the crimson-red and yellow-green, as just 
given, and carry it a stage further, we might add two parts (out of the eight) of 
blue to the red, and make it more blue, and then form the comj)lementary green of 
six parts of blue and three of yellow, and thus make it more yellow. Or we may go 
further still, and add to the red six of the eight jiarts of blue, when the admixture 
would appear as a red-purple rather than as a blue-red, in which case the com- 
plementary green — or, rather, green-yellow — -would consist of two parts of blue and 
three of yellow. These facts are diagrammatically expressed in the following : — 

Bed. O O O O O ) 
Blue. O § 

Crimson harmonises with 

o o o 


o o o o o o 


o o o 


o o o o o o 


o o o 


o o 


Bed. O O O O O 7 Blue- ^ . . , Very ( 

„, r ^ ■ harmonises with YpUow ^ 

Blue. O O ) Crimson g^^^^^ ^ 


Bed. 000007 I^^^- , . Gfj-em- ( 

r „ , harmonises with „ „ -i 

Blue. 000000 ) Ptir2)le Yellow. (^ 

In all these eases it will be seen that we have eight parts of blue, five of red, 
and three of yellow, only the mode of combination varies. This variation may occur 
to any extent, provided the totals of each be always the equivalent proportions. 

These remarks will apply equally to hues of colour, shades, and tints, and to 
shades and tints of hues. 

Care, and a little practice, will enable the learner to arrange colours into 
a number of degrees of depth, or shades, as they are generally called. (We do 
not here use the term as signifying pure colours darkened with black.) Ten shades 
of each colour differing obviously in degree of depth can readily be arranged by the 
experienced, the ten shades being equidistant from each other as regards depth — that 
is, shade 3 will be as much darker than shade 2 as shade 2 is darker than shade 1, and 
so on throughout the whole. Pm-ple is a colour intermediate between blue and red. 
Imagine ten hues between the purple and the red, and ten more between the purple 
and the blue : thus we should have purjile, then a slightly red purple, then a rather 
redder purple, then a purple still redder, and so on till we get purple-reds, and 



finally the pure red ; and the same variations of hue at the blue side also. Imagine, 
further, the green having ten hues extending towards the blue, and ten more stretch- 
ing towards the yellow ; and the orange having ten hues towards the red, and ten 
towards the yellow — in all cases I count the colour from which we start as one of 
the ten, thus : — 

Blue Purple Red 


— and we shall have 54 colours and hues of colour. Of each of these 54 colours 
and hues imagine 10 degrees of depth, and we get 540 colours, hues, tints, and 
shades, all differing from one another to an obvious degree. 

Mark this fact, that any colour, tint, hue, or shade of such a diagram has its 
complement in one other of the colours, tints, hues, or shades of the diagram, and 
that only two of this series of 540 are complementary to each other; thus, if you 
fix on any one colour of the 540, there is but one colour in the whole that is 
complementary to it, and it is comj^lementary to but this one other colour. 

The student will do well to try and make a colour-diagram of this kind, 
of a simple character, say such as the following, only using pigments for my 
numbers ; but in doing so he must exercise the utmost care, in order that he secure 
some degree of acciu^cy of tint or shade, and if he can call to his aid an exjierienced 
colourist it will be of great assistance to him. 















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■\ "i 




' 'V 

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^^<i-pwpu . 

" "^ '^ n 



^ ^ 

'^■' ^ 

C^ li 

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^ S- 



(P S 







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e f 




Si . 


& s 




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This table is highly valuable, as it gives ninety harmonies, if carefully prepared 
in colour ; and tlie preparation of such a table is the very best practice that a student 
can possibly have. 

Let us for a moment consider this table, and supj^ose that we want to find the 
complement to some particular colour, as the third shade of red. We find the com- 
plement of this in the third shade of green opposite. If we want the complement 
of the second shade of orange-yellow, we find it in the second shade of blue-purple 
opposite, and so on. Thus we have a means of at once judging of the harmony of 

It must ever be borne in mind that pigments mixed in the proportions given 
will not yield results such as would occur when the coloured rays of light are 
combined ; thus three parts, either by weight or measure, of chrome yellow when 
combined with eight parts of ultramarine would not form a colour representing 
the secondary green, nor would the result be more satisfactory were other pigments 
combined in the proportions given. What we have said in respect to the proportions 
in which colours combine to form new colours applies only to the coloured rays 
of light. 

It must now be noticed that while colours harmonise in the proportions stated, 
the areas occupied by the different colours may vary if there be a corresponding 
alteration in intensity. Thus eight of blue and eight of orange form a perfect 
harmony when both colours are of prismatic intensity; but we shall still have a 
perfect harmony if the orange is diluted to one-haK its strength with white, and 
thus formed into a tint, provided there be sixteen parts of this orange of half strength 
to the eight parts of blue of full strength. 

The orange might be further diluted to one-third of its full power, but then 
twenty-four parts would be necessary to a perfect harmony with eight parts of 
prismatic blue ; or to one-fourth of its strength, when thirty-two parts would be 
necessary to the harmony. 

It is not desiralile that I occupy space with diagrams of these quantities, but 
tlie industrious student will prepare them for himself, and will strive to realise 
a true half -tint, quarter-tint, etc., which is not a very easy thing to do. By 
practice, however, it will readily be accomplished, and anything achieved is a 
new power gained. 

What I have said respecting the harmony of blue with tints of orange will 
apply in all similar cases. Thus red will harmonise with tints of green, provided 
the area of the tint be increased as the intensity is decreased ; and so will j'ellow 
harmonise with tints of purple under similar conditions. 

But we may reverse the conditions, and lower the primary to a tint retaining 
the secondary in its intensity. Thus blue, if reduced to a half-tint, will harmonise 
with orange of prismatic intensity in the proportion of sixteen of blue to eight of 


orange ; or, if reduced to a quarter-tint, in the proportion of thirty-two of blue to 
eight of orange. Ked, if reduced to a half-tint, will harmonise in the proportion of 
ten red to eleven of green ; and yellow as a half-tint in the proportion of six yellow 
to thirteen of purple. 

The same remarks might be made respecting the harmony of shades of colour 
with colours of prismatic intensity. Thus, if orange is diluted to a shade of half 
intensity with black, it will harmonise with pure blue in the proportion of sixteen 
of orange to eight of blue, and so on, just as in the case of tints ; and this principle 
applies to the harmony of all hues of colour also. 

To go one step further : we scarcely ever deal with pure colours or their shades 
or tints, or even come as near them as we can. With great intensity of colour we 
seem to require an ethereal character, such as we have in those of light ; but 
our pigments are coarse and earthy — they are too real-looking, and are not ethereal 
— they may be said to be corporeal rather than spiritual in character. For this 
reason we have to avoid the use of our purest pigments in such quantities as render 
their poverty of nature manifest, and to use for large surfaces such tints as, through 
their subtlety of composition, interest and please. A tint the composition of which 
is not apparent is always preferable to one of more obvious formation. Thus we are 
led to use tints which are subtly formed, and such as please by their newness and 
bewilder by the intricacy of formation. 

To do what I here mean it is not necessary that many pigments be mixed 
together in order to the formation of a tint. The effect of which I speak can 
frequently be got by two well-chosen pigments. Thus a fine series of low-toned 
shades can be produced by mixing together middle-chrome and brown-lake in various 
proportions, and in all of the shades thus formed the three primary colours will be 
represented, but in some j'ellow will predominate, and in others red ; while in many 
it wall not be easy to discover to what proportionate extent the three primary colours 
are present. 

Let us suppose that we make a tint by adding white to cobalt blue. This blue 
contains a small amount of yellow, and is a slightlj- green blue. But to this tint 
we add a small amount of raw umber with the view of imparting a greyness* or 
atmospheric character. Raw umber is a neutral colour, leaning slightly to yellow — 
that is, it consists of red, blue, and j'ellow, with a slight excess of the latter. In 
order that an orange harmonise with this grey-blue of a slightly yellow tone, 
the orange must be slightly inclined to red, so as to form the complement of 
the little green formed by the yellow in the blue. It may 'harmonise with the 
grey-blue as a pure tint if the area of the diluted and neutralised primary is 

* Cobalt, raw umber, and wbite make a magnificent grey, botb in oil-colours, in tempera 
(powder- colours mised witb gum-water), and in distemper (powder-colours mixed with tize). 


sufficiently extended, or may itself be likewise reduced to a tint of the same 
depth, when both tints would have the same area. 

I might go on multiplying cases of this character to almost any extent, 
but these I leave the student to work out for himself, and pass to notice that while 
it is desirable to use subtle tints (often called "broken tints") it is rarely expedient 
to make up the full harmony by a large area of a tertiary tone and a single positive 
colour. Thus, we might have a shade or a tint of citrine spreading over a large 
surface as a ground on which we wished to place a figure. This figure would 
harmonise in pure purple were it of a certain size, and yet if thus coloured it would 
give a somewhat common-j)lace effect when finished, for the harmony would be too 
simple and obvious. It would be much better to have the nineteen parts of citrine 
reduced, say, to half intensity, when the area would be increased to thirty-eight, 
with the figure of eight parts of blue and five of red, than of thirteen parts of 

But it would be better still if there were the thirty-eight parts of reduced 
citrine, three parts of pure yellow, thirteen of purple, five of red, and eight of blue, 
together with white, black, or gold, or all three (these may be added without altering 
the conditions, as all act as neutrals), for here the harmony is of a more subtle 

If we count up the equivalents of the colours employed in this scheme of 
harmony, we shall see that we have, in the citrine — 

Yellow . . . . . .6 (two equivaientR). 

Blue . . . . . .8 (one equivalent). 

Red . . . . . .5 (one equivalent). 

In the purple — • 

Blue . . . . ■ . .8 (one equivalent). 

Red . . . . . .5 (one equivalent). 

Of the nure colours — • 

Yellow . . . . . .3 (one equivalent). 

Red . . . . . .5 (one equivalent). 

Blue . . . . . .8 (one equivalent). 

Thus we have three equivalents of each primary, which give a perfect harmony. 

I must not say more respecting the laws of harmony, for in the space of 
a small work it is impossible to do so, but proceed to notice certain effects or 
properties of colours, which I have as yet only alluded to, or have passed altogether 

I have said that black, white, and guld are neutral as regards colour. This 
is the case, although many would suppose that gold was a yellow. Gold will act 
as a yellow, but it is generally employed as a neutral in decorative work, and 


it is more of a neutral than a yellow, for both red and blue exist largely in it. 
The pictorial artist frames his picture with gold because it, being a neutral, does 
not interfere with the tints of his work. It has the further advantage of being 
rich and costly in appearance, and thus of giving an impression of worth where 
it exists. 

Black, white, and gold, being neutral, may be advantageously employed to 
separate colour's where separation is necessary or desirable. 

Yellow and purple harmonise, but yellow is a light colour and purple is dark. 
These colours not only harmonise, but also contrast as to depth, the one being 
light and the other dark. The limit of each colour, wherever these are used in 
juxtaposition, is therefore obvious. 

It is not so with red and green, for these harmonise when of the same dep*h. 
This being the case, and red being a glowing colour, if a red object is placed on a 
green ground, or a green object on a red ground, the "figure" and ground will 
appear to "swim" together, and will produce a dazzling effect. Colour must assist 
form, and not confuse it. It wiU do this in the instance just named if the figure is 
outlined with black, white, or gold, and there will be no loss of harmony. But 
experience has shown that this effect can also be averted by outlining the figure 
with a lighter tint of its own colour. Thus, if the figure is red and the ground 
green, an outline of lighter red (pink) may be employed. (See Proposition 26, 
page SI.) 

A blue figure on a red ground (as ultramarine on carmine), or a red figure on a 
blue ground, will also produce this swimming and unsatisfactory effect, but this is 
again obviated by an outline of black, white, or gold. 

Employing the outline thus must not be regarded as a means of merely ren- 
dering what was actually unpleasant endm-able, for it does much more — it affords 
one of the richest means of effect. A carmine ground well covered with bold green 
ornament having a gold outline is, if well managed, truly gorgeous ; and were 
the figure blue on the red ground, the lavish use of gold would render the employ- 
ment of yellow unnecessary as the yellow formed in the eye and east upon the 
gold would satisfy all requirements. 

It is a curious fact that the eye will create any colour of which there is a de- 
ficiency. This it will do, but the colour so created is of little use to the composition 
unless white or gold is present; if, however, there be white or gold in the com- 
position, the colour which is absent, or is insufficiently represented, will be formed 
in the eye and cast upon these neutrals, and the white or the gold, as the case 
may be, will assume the tint of the deficient or absent colour. (See Propositions 
8 and 9, page 32.) 

While this occurs (and sometimes it occurs to a marked degree, as can be shown 
by experiment), it must not be supposed that a composition in which any element is 


wanting is as perfect as one which reveals no want. It is far otherwise; only Nature 
here comes to our assistance, and is content to help herself rather than endure our 
short-comings ; but in the one case we give Nature the labour of completing the 
harmony; while in the ether, all being prepared, we receive a sense of satisfaction 
and repose. 

In Proposition 8 we showed that when blue and black are juxtaposed, the black 
becomes " rusty," or assumes an orange tint; and in Proposition 9 we gave the cause 
of this effect. Let a blue spot be placed on a black silk necktie, and however black 
the silk, it will yet appear rusty. This is a fact; but we sometimes desire to employ 
blue on black, and wish the black to look black, and not an orange-black. How can 
we do this ? Obviously by substituting for the black a very dark blue, as indigo. 
The bright blue spot induces orange (the complement of blue) in the eye. This 
orange, when cast upon black, causes the latter to look " rusty ; " but if we place in 
the black an amount of blue sufficient to neutralise the orange cast upon it, the 
effect will be that of a jet-black. 

We have now considered those qualities of colour, and those laws of contrast and 
harmony, which may be said to be of the grosser sort ; but we have scarcely touched 
on those considerations which pertain to special refinement or tenderness of effect. 
But let me close the part of my subject of wiiich I have treated, by repeating a 
statement already made — a statement, let me say, which first led me to perceive 
really harmony of colour — that those colours, and those particular hues of colour, 
which improve each other to the utmost, are those which perfectlij harmonise. (Consider 
this statement in connection with Propositions 8, 9, 10, and ll, pages 32 and 33.) 

We come now to consider delicacies and refinements in colour effects, which, 
although dependent upon the skilful exercise of the laws enunciated, are yet of a 
character, the power to produce which only results from the consideration of the 
works of the masters of great art-nations ; but of these effects I can say little beyond 
pointing out what should be studied. 

This principle however I cannot pass without notice — namely, that the finest 
colour effects are those of a rich, mingled, bloomy character. 

Imagine a luxuriant garden, the beds in which are filled with a thousand 
flowers, having all the colours of the rainbow, and imagine these arranged as closely 
together as will permit of their growth. When viewed from a distance the effect is 
soft and rich, and full and varied, and is all that is pleasant. This is Nature's 
colouring. It is our work humbly to strive at producing like beauty with her. 

This leads me to notice that primary colours (and secondary colours, also, when 
of great intensity) shoi.ld be used chiefly in small masses, together with gold, white, 
or black. 


Visit the Indian Museiim at "U'liiteliall,* and consider the beautiful Indian 
shawls and scar%'es and table-covers ; or, if unable to do so, look in the windows of 
our large drapers in the chief towns, and see the true Indian fabrics,t and obser\-e 
the manner in which small portions of intense reds, blues, yellows, greens, and a 
score of tertiary tints, are combined with white and black and gold to produce a very 
miracle of bloom. I know of nothing in the way of colour combination so rich, so 
beautiful, st> gorgeous, and yet so soft, as some of these Indian shawls. 

It is curious that we never find a purely Indian work otherwise than in good 
taste as regards colour harmony. Indian works, in this respect — whether carpets, 
or shawls, or dress materials, or lacquered boxes, or enamelled weapons — are almost 
perfect — perfect in harmony, perfect in richness, perfect in the softness of their 
general effect. How strangely these works contrast with ours, where an harmonious 
work in colours is scarcely ever seen. 

By the co-mingling (not co-mixing) of colours in the manner just described, 
a rich and bloomy effect can be got, having the general tone of a tertiary colour of 
any desired hue. Thus, if a wall be covered with little ornamental flowerets, by 
colouring all alike, and letting each contain two parts of yellow and one part of blue 
and one of red, as separate and pure colours, the distant hue will be that of citrine : 
the same effect ^all result if the flowers are coloured variously, while the same 
proportions of the primaries are preserved throughout. I can conceive of no 
decorative effects more subtle, rich, and lovely than those of which I now speak. 

Imagine three rooms, all connected by open archwaj's, and all decorated with a 
thousand flower-like ornaments, and these so coloured, in this mingled manner, that 
in one room blue predominates, in another red, and in another yellow ; we should 
then have a beautiful tertiary bloom in each — a subtle mingling of colour, an ex- 
quisite delicacy and refinement of treatment, a fulness such as always results from 
a rich mingling of hues, and an amount of detail which would interest when 
closely inspected ; besides which, we should have the harmony of the general effect 
of the three rooms, the one appearing as olive, another as citrine, and the other as 

This mode of decoration has this advantage, that it not only gives richness and 
beauty, but it also gives purity. If pigments are mixed together they are thereby 
reduced in intensity, as we have already seen ; but if placed side by side, when 
viewed from a distance the eye will mix them, but they will suffer no diminution of 

With the view of cultivating the eye, Eastern works cannot be too carefully 
studied. The Indian ^luseum should be the home of all who can avail themselves of 
the opportunity of study which it affords ; and the small Indian department of the 

* Tliis museum is open free to the public. + Tbese will only be seen in very first class sbops. 


South Kensington Museum should not be neglected, small though it is* Chinese 
works must also be considered, for they likewise supply most valuable examples of 
colour harmony ; and allhough they do not present such a perfect colour bloom as do 
the works of India, yet they are never inharmonious, and give clearness and sharp- 
ness, together with great brilliancy, in a manner not attempted by the Indians. 

The best works of Chinese embroidery are rarely seen in this country; but these 
are unsurpassed by the productions of any other people. For richness, splendour, 
and purity of colour, together with a delicious coolness, I know of nothing to equal 

The works of the Japanese are not to be overlooked, for in certain branches of 
art they are inimitable, and as colourists they are almost perfect. On the commonest 
of their lacquer trays we generally have a I>it of good colouring, and their coloured 
pictures are sometimes marvels of harmony. 

As to the styles of colouring adopted by the nations referred to, I should say 
that the Indians produce rich, mingled, bloomy, ivarm effects — that is, effects in 
which red and yellow prevail ; that the Chinese achieve clearness, repose, and 
coolness — a form of colouring in which blue and white jjrevail; and that the Japanese 
effects are warm, simple, and quiet. 

Besides studying the works of India, Cliina, and Japaii, study those also of 
Turkey and IMorocco, and even those of Algeria, for here tlie colouring is much lietter 
than witli us, although not so good as in the countries first named. No aid to 
progress must be neglected, and no help must be despised. f 

With the view of refining the judgment further in respect to colour, get a goo<l 
colour-top, J and study its beautiful effects. See also the "gas tubes" illuminated 

* It may not be generally known, but nearly all our large mannfactnring towns have, in 
connection with the Chamber of Commerce, a coUei tion of Indian fabrics, filling several large 
volumes, which were prepared, at the expense of Government, under the superintendence of 
Dr. Forbes Watson, and which were given to the various towns on the condition that they be 
accessible to all persons who are trustworthy. Although these collections do not embrace the 
costly decorated fabrics, yet much can be learned from them, and the combinations of colour are 
always harmonious. A much larger collection is now in course of formation. 

+ The South Kensington Museum has a very interesting collection of art-works from China 
and Japan ; but the latter are chiefly lent. It is a strange thing that the perfei:t works of the 
East are so poorly illustrated in this national collection, while costly, yea, very costly works of 
inferior character, illustrative of Eenaissance art, swarm as thickly as files in August. This can 
only be accounted for by the fact that the heads of the institution have a feeling for pictorial 
rather than decorative art, and the Renaissance ornament is that which has most of the pictorial 
element. To me, the style appears to owe its very weakness to this fact, for decorative art should 
be wholly ideal. Pictoi ial art is of necessity more or less imitative. 

X Not the so-called c< lour or "chameleon" top sold in the t y-shops, but the more scientific 
toy procurable of opticians, together with the perforated discs of Mr. John Graham, M.E C.S., of 
Tuubridge, Kent. 


by electricity, as sold by opticians, and let the prism yield you dail}- instniction. 
Soap-bubbles may also be blown, and the beautiful colours seen in them carefully 
noted. These and any other available means of cultivating the eye should constantly 
l)e resorted to, as by such means only can we become great colourists. 

As to works on colour, we have the writings of Field, to whom we are indebted 
for valuable discoveries; of Hay, the decorator, and friend of the late David Roberts, 
but some of his ideas are wild and Utopian ; of Chevreul, whose work will be most 
useful to the student ; and the small catechism of colour by Mr. ReJgrave, of the 
South Kensington Museum, which is excellent. The student will also do well to 
carefully study the excellent manual of "Colour" by Professor Church, of Cirencester 



Having considered those principles which are of primary importance to the orna- 
mentist, wc may commence our notice of the various manufactures, and try to 
discover what particular form of art should be applied to each, and the special manner 
in which decorative principles should be considered as ajiplicable to various materials 
and modes of working. 

We shall first consider furniture, or cabinet-work, because articles of furniture 
occupy a place of greater importance in a room than e«rpets, wall-papers, or, perhaps, 
any other decorative works ; and, also, because we shall learn from a consideration of 
furniture those structural principles which will be of value to us in considering the 
manner in which all art-objects should be formed if they have solid, and not simply 
superficial, dimensions. 

In the present chapter, I shall strive to Impress the fact that design and 
ornamentation may be essentially different things, and that in considering the 
formation of works of furniture these should be regarded as sei)arate and distinct. 
" Design," says Redgrave, " has reference to the construction of any work both for 
use and beauty, and therefore includes its ornamentation also. Ornament is merely 
the decoration of a thing constructed." 

The construction of furniture will form the chief theme of this chapter, for 
unless such works are properly constructed they cannot possibly be useful, and If not 
useful they would fail to answer the end for which they were contrived. 

But before commencing a consideration of the principles involved in the 
construction of works of furniture, let me summarise what is required In such works 
If they are to assume the character of art-objects. 

1. The general form, or mass form, of all constructed works must be carefully 
considered. The aspect of the " sky-blotch " of an architectural edifice Is very 
important, for as the day wanes the detail fades and parts become blended, till the 
members compose but one whole, which, when seen from the east, appears as a solid 
mass drawn in darkness on the glowing sky ; this Is the sky-blotch. If the edifice 
en masse Is pleasing, a great point is gained. Indeed, the general contour should 
haVe primary consideration. In like manner, the general form of all works of 
furniture should first be cared for, and every effort should be made at seciu-ing to the 
general mass beauty of shape. 


2. After having cared for the general form, the manner in which the work 
sliall be divided into primary and secondaiy parts must be considered with reference 
to the laws of proportion, as stated in a former chapter. 

3. Detail and enrichment may now be considered ; but while these cannot be 
too excellent, they must still be subordinate in obtrusiveness to the general mass, or 
to the aspect of the work as a whole. 

4. The material of which the object is formed must always be worked in the 
most natural and appropriate manner. 

5. The most convenient or appropriate form for an object should always be 
chosen, for unless this has been done, no reasonable hope can be entertained that the 
work will be satisfactory ; for the consideration of utility must in all cases precede 
the consideration of beauty, as we saw in our first chapter. 

Having made these few general remarks, we must consider the structure 
of works of furniture. The material of which we form our furniture is wood. 
Wood has a " grain," and the strength of any particular piece largely depends upon 
the direction of its grain. It may be strong if its grain runs parallel with its 
length, or weak if the grain crosses diagonally, or very weak if the grain crosses 
transversely. However strong the wood, it becomes comparatively much weaker if 
the grain crosses the piece; and however weak the wood, it becomes yet weaker if the 
grain is transverse or diagonal. These considerations lead us to see that f//e grain 
of the wood must always be parallel with its length whenever strength is required. 

For our guidance in the formation of works of furniture, I give the following 
short table of woods arranged as to their strength : — 

Iron-wood, from Jamaica — very strong, bearing great lateral pressure. 

Box of Illawarry, New South Wales — very strong, but not so strong as iron-wood. 

Mountain ash, New South Wales — about two-thirds the strength of iron- wood. 

Beech — nearly as strong as mountain ash. 

Mahogany , from New South Wales — not quite so strong as last. 

Black dog-wood of Jamaica — three-fourths as strong as the mahogany just 

Box-wood, Jamaica — not half as strong as the box of New South Wales. 

Cedar of Jamaica — half as strong as the mahogany of New South Wales.* 

Wood can be got of sufficient length to meet all the requirements of furniture- 
making, yet we not unfrequently find the arch structurally introduced into furniture, 
while it is absurd to employ it in wooden construction of any kind. The arch is 
a most ingenious invention, as it affords a means of spanning a large space with 
small portions of material, as with small stones, and at the same time gives great 

* For full particuUrs on this subject see " Catalogue of the Collection illustrating Construction 
and BiiilJing Material," in the South Kensington Museum, and the manual of " TechuicfJ Drawing 
for Cabinetmakers," by E. A. Davidson. 



strength. It is, therefore, of the utmost utility in constructing stone Luildings; but 
in works of furniture, where we have no large spaces to span, and where wood is of 
the utmost length required, and is stronger than our requirements demand, the use 
of the arch becomes structurally foolish and absurd. The folly of this mode of struc- 
ture becomes more apparent when we notice that a wooden arch is always formed of 
one or two pieces, and not of very small portions, and when we further consider that, 
in order to the formation of an arch, the wood must be cut across its grain throughor.t 
the greater portion of its length, whereby its strength is materially decreased ; while 
if the arch were formed of small pieces of stone great strength would be secured. 
Nothing can be more absurd than the practice of imitating in one material a mode of 
construction which is only legitimate in the case of another, and of failing to avail 
ourselves of the particular mode of utilising a material which secures a maximum 
of desirable results. 

While I jH-otest against the arch when structurally used in furniture, I see no 
objection to it if used only as a source of beauty, and when so situated as to be free 
from strain or f)ressure. 

One of the objects which we are frequently called upon to construct is a chair. 
The chair is, throughout Europe and America, considered as a necessity of every 
house. So largely used are chairs, that one firm at High "Wycombe employs 5,000 
hands in making common caue-bottoraed chairs alone; and yet we see but few chairs 
in the market which are well constructed. All chairs having curved frames — whether 
the curve is in the wood of the back, in the sides of the seat, or in the legs — are 
constructed on false principles. They are of necessity weak, and being weak are not 
useful. As they are formed by using wood in a manner which fails to utilise its 
qualities of strength, these chairs are offensive and absurd. It is true that, through 
being surrounded by such ill-formed objects from our earliest infancy, the eye often 
fails to be offended ^^•ith such works as would offend it were they new to it; but this 
does not show that they are the less offensive, nor that they are not constructively 
wrong. Besides, whenever wood is cut across tlie grain, in order that we get any- 
thing approaching the requisite strength, it has to be much thicker and more bulky 
than would be required were the wood cut with the grain ; hence such furniture is 
unnecessarily heavy and clumsy. 

Fig. 26 represents a chair which I have taken the liberty of borrowing from Mr. 
Eastlake's work on houseliold art.* This chair Mr. Eastlake gives as an illustration 
of good taste in the construction of furniture ; but I give it as an illustration of that 
which is essentially bad and wrong. The legs arc weak, being cross-grained 

* The title of the work is " Hint- on Household Taste." It is well worth reading, as much niaj 
be learned from it. I think Mr. Ea.tlake right in many views, yet wrong in others, but I cannot 
help regarding him somewhat as an apostle of ugliness, as be appears to we to desjjise finish 
and refinement. 



throughout, and the mode of uniting the upper and lower portions of the legs (the 
two semicircles) by a circular boss 
is defective in the highest degree. 
Were I sitting in such a ehair, I 
shoidd be afraid to lean to the 
right or the left, for fear of the 
chair giving way. Give me a 
Yorkshire rocking-chair, in pre- 
ference to one of these, where I 
know of my insecurity, much as 
I hate such. 

A chair is a stool with a 
back-rest, and a stool is a Ixiard 
elevated from the ground or floor 
by supports, the degree of eleva- 
tion being determined by the 
length of the legs of the person 
for whom the seat is made, or by 
the degree of obliquity which the 
body and legs are desired to take 
when the seat is in use. If the 
seat is to support the body when 
in an erect sitting 250stia-e, about 
seventeen to eighteen inches will 
be foiind a convenient height for 
the average of persons ; but if the 
legs of the sitter are to take an 
oblique forward direction, then the 
seat may be lower. 

A stool may consist of a thick 
piece of wood and of three legs 
inserted into holes bored in this 
thick top. If these legs pass to 
the upper surface of the seat, and 
are properly wedged in, a useful 
yet clumsy seat results. In order 
that the top of the stool be thin 
and light, it will be necessary that 
the legs be connected by frames, 
and it will be well that they be Fig. 27. 

Fig. 26. 



connected twice, once at the top of each leg, so that the seat may rest upon this 
frame, and once at least two-thirds of the distance from the top. The frame would 
now stand alone, and although the seat is formed of thin wood it will not crack, as 
it is supported all round on the upper frame. 

A chair, I have said, is a stool with a back. There is not one chair out of fifty 
that we find with the hack so attached to the seat as to give a maximum of strength. 
It is usual to make a back leg and ono side of the chair-back out of one piece of 
wood — that is, to continue the back legs up above the seat, and cause them to become 

the sides of the chair-back. 
When this is done the wood 
is almost invariably curved 
so that the back legs and 
the chair-back both incline 
outwards from the seat. 
There is no objection what- 
ever to the sides of the back 
and the legs being formed 
of the one piece, but there 
is a great objection to either 
the supports of the back or 
the legs being formed of 
cross-grained wood, as much 
of their strength is thereby 
sacrificed. Our illustrations 
(Figs. 27 to 32) will give 
several modes of construct- 
ing chairs such as I think legitimate ; but I will ask the reader to think for 
himself upon the construction of a chair, and especially upon the proper means of 
giving due support to the back. 

I have given, in an axiomatic form, those principles which should guide us in 
the construction of works of furniture, and endeavoured to impress the necessity of 
using wood in that manner which is most natural — that is, "working" it with the 
grain (the manner in which we can most easily work it), and in that way which 
shall secure the greatest amount of strength with the least expenditure of material. 
I wish to impress my readers with the importance of these considerations, for they 
lie at the very root of the successful construction of furniture. If the legs of chairs, 
or their seat-frames, or the ends or backs of couches, are formed of wood cut across 
the grain, they must either be thick and clumsy, or weak ; but, besides this, the 
rightly constituted mind can only receive pleasure from the contemplation of works 
which are wisely formed. Daily contact, as we ha\e before said, with ill-shaped 

Fig. 28. 



objects may have more or less deadened our senses, so that we are not so readily- 
offended by deformity and error as we might be ; yet, happily for us, directly we 
seek to sej^arate truth from error, the beautiful from the deformed, reason assists the 
judgment, and we learn to feel when we are in the presence of the beautiful or in 
contact with the degraded. 

My illustrations will show how I think chairi should be constructed. Fig. 26 
is essentially bad, although it has traditional sanction, hence I pass it over without 
further comment. Fig. 27 is in the manner of an Egyptian chair. It serves to 
show the careful way in which the Egyptians constructed their works. The curved 


Fig. 29. 

Fig. 30. 

rails against which the back would rest are the only parts which are not thoroughly 
correct and satisfactory in a wood structure. Were the cun^ed back members metal, 
the curvature would be desirable and legitimate. The back of this chair, if the side 
members were connected by a straight rail, .would have immense strength (the backs 
of some of o?«- chairs are of the very weakest), and if well made it is a seat which 
would endure for centuries. Fig. 2S is a chair of my o^ra designing, in which I 
have sought to give strength to the back by connecting its upper portion with a 
strong cross-rail of the frame. 

Fig. 29 is a chair slightly altered from one in :Mr. Eastlake's work on 
" Household Taste ; " as sho-mi in our illustration, it is a correctly formed work. 
Fig. 30 is an arm-chair in the Greek style, which I have designed. Fig. 31 is a 
lady's chair in the Gothic style ; Fig. 32, a lady's chair in early Greek. These I 
have prepared to show different modes of structure ; if the legs are fitted to a frame 


rm\r of design. 

(the seat-frame), as in the early Greek eliair just alhided to, they should l)o very 
short, as in this instance, or they niust be connected l)y a frame below the seat, as in 
Figs. 33 and 34. The best general structure is that in which the front legs pass to 
the k'\el of ll\e upper surface of the seat. 

Fig. 33 is a copy of a chair shown l)y Messrs. Gillow and Co., of Oxford Street, 
in the last Paris International ]"]xhil)ition. In many respects it is admirably 
constructed. The skeleton brackets holding the back to the scat arc very desirable 


Fig. 31 . 

Fig. .32. 

adjuncts to light chairs; so are the brackets connecting the legs with the seat-frame, 
as these strengthen the entire chair. The manner in whicli the u]i]ier rail of the 
back passes through the side uprights and is " pinned " is good. The chief, and 
oidy important, fault in this chair is the bending of the back legs, involving their 
being cut against the grain of the wood. 

Fig. 3i is a chair from Mr. Talbert's very excellent work on "Gothic Fur- 
niture." It shows an admirable method of supporting the back. Fig. 35 I have 
designed as a high-backed lounging chair. With the view of giving strength to the 
back, I have extended the seat, and arranged a su])]iort from this extension to 
tlu' upper back-rail, and this extension of the seat I have supported liy a liflh leg. 



Tliere is no reason whatever why a chair sliould have four legs. If three would be 
better, or five, or any other number, let us use what would be best.* 

I have now given several illustrations of modes of forming chairs. I mioht 
have given many more, but it is not my duty to try and exhaust a subject. What 
I have to do is simply jwint out principles, and call attention to facts. It is the 
reader who must think for himself — first, of the principles and facts which I adduce ; 
secondly, of the illustrations which I give ; thirdly, of other works which he may 

Fifr. 34. 

Fig. 33. 

meet with , and fourthly, of further means of producing desirable and satisfactory 
results than those set forth in my illustrations. 

As it cannot be doubted that a well-constructed work, however jilain or simple 
it may be, gives satisfaction to those who behold it — while a work of the most 
elaborate character fails to satisfy if badly constructed — we shall give a few further 
illustrations of structure for other articles of furniture, besides chairs, which have 
become necessary to our mode of life. 

Fig. 36 is one of my sketches for Greek furniture, designed for a wealthy 
client. It was formed of black wood. Here the frame of the seat is first formed, 

* Id ray drawing, the stuffing of the back has been accidentally shown too much rounded. 




aiiu the legs are inserted beneath it, and let into it, while the wood-work of the 
end of the couch stands upon it, bein<5' inserted into it. This appears to have been 
the general method with the Greeks of forming their furniture, yet it is not so 
correct structurally as Fig. 37, another of my sketches, where the end and the leo- 
are formed of one piece of wood. The first formation (that of Fig. 30) would bear 
any amount of pressure from above, but it is not well calculated for resisting lateral 
pressure; while the latter would resist this lateral pressure, but would not bear quite 

the same amount of pressure from aljove. 
The latter, however, could bear more 
weight than would ever be required of it, 
and would be the more durable jjieee of 

Fig. 3S gives a legitimate formation 
for a settee; the cutting-out, or hollowing, 
of the sides of the legs is not carried to an 
extreme, but leaves a sufficiency of strong 
wood with an upright grain to resist all 
the pressure that would be placed on the 
seat, and the lower and ui)per thickened 
portions of the legs act as the brackets 
beneath the seat in Fig. 33. The arch 
here introduced is not used structurally, 
but for the sake of a curved line, and acts 
simply as a pair of brackets. This illus- 
tration is also from IMr. Talbert's work. 
Fig. 39 is a table such as we occasionally 
meet with. I .see no objection to the legs 
leaning inwards at the top; indeed, we have 
here a picturesque and useful table of legitimate formation. Fig. 40 is the end 
elevation of a sideboard from Mr. Talbert's work. Mark the simplicity of the 
structure. The leading or structural lines are straight and obvious. Although 
Mr. Talbert is not always right, yet his book is well worthy of the most careful 
consideration and study ; and this I can truly say, that it compares favourably with 
all other works on furniture with which I am acquainted. 

The general want which we perceive in modern furniture is simplicity of 
structure and truthfulness of construction. If persons would but think out the 
easiest mode of constructing a work before they commence to design it, and would 
be content with this simplicity of structure, we should have very different furniture 

from what we have, 

Think first of what is wanted, then of the material at 



I fear that I have very feebly enfureed and very inefficiently illustrated the 
true principles on which works of furniture should be constructed ; and yet I feel 
that the structure of such works is of importance beyond all other considerations. 

Fig. 36. 

Space is limited, however, and I must pass on ; hence I only hope that I have 
induced the reader to think for himself, and if I have done so I shall have fulfilled 
my desire, for his progress will tlien be sure. 

Respectin<i- structure I have but a few general remarks further to make, and 

all these are fairly embraced in the one expression, "Be truthful." An obvious and 
true structure is always pleasant. Let, then, the "tenon" and the "mortise" pass 
through the various members, and let the parts be "pinned" together by obvious 
wooden pins. Thus, if the frame of a chair-seat is tenoned into the legs, let the 
tenon pass through the leg and be visible on the outer side, and let it be held in 
its place by glue and wooden pins — the i)ins Ijeing visible. Yet they need not 
protrude beyond the surface ; but why hide them ? In this way that old furnitm-e 



was made which has endured while piece after piece of modern furniture, made 
with invisible joints and concea,led nails and screws, has perished. This is a true 

structural treatment, and is honest in 
expression also. 

I do not give this as a principle 
applicaljle to one class of furniture only, 
hut to all. "When we have "pinned" 
furniture with an open structure (see 
the hack of chair. Fig'. 3-3), the mode of 
putting together must of necessity he 
manifest ; hut in all other cases the 
tenons should also go through, and the 
pins hy which they are held in their 
place he driven from one sui-face to the 
other side right through the member. 
Kig. 38. In the commencement of this 

chapter on furniture, I said that after 
the most convenient form has been chosen for an object, and after it has been 
arranged that the material of which it ij to hi formed shall be worked in the 
most natural or befitting way, that then the block-form niust be looked to, after 

which comes the divi- 
sion of the mass into 
lirimary parts, and 
lastly, the considera- 
tion of detail. 

As to the block- 
form, let it I)e simple, 
and have the appear- 
ance of appropriateness 
and consistency. Its 
character must be re- 
gulated, to an extent, 
by the nature of the 
house for which tlier 
Fig. 39. furniture is intended, 

and by the character 
of the room in which it is to be placed. All I can say to the student on this part of 
the subject is this : Carefully consider good works of furniture whenever oppor- 
tunity occurs, and note their general conformation. A fine work will never have 
strong architectural (pialities — that is, it will not look like i)art of a building formed 



o£ wood instead of stone. There is but small danyer of committing any great 
error in the Lloek-form, if it be kejjt simple, and ti/ look like a work in wood, 
provided that the proportions of height to widtli and of width and height to 
thickness are duly eared for (see page 2-5) . 

After the general form has been considered, the mass may be broken into 
primary and secondary ])arts. Thus, if we 
have to construct a cabinet, the upper part 
of which consists of a cupboard, and the 
lower portion of drawers, we should have to 
determine tliL? jiroportion which the one part 
should Ix'ar to the other. This is an in- 
variable rule — that the work must not consist 
of equal parts ; thus, if the whole cabinet be 
six feet in height, the cupboards could not 
be tlirea feet while the drawers occupied 
three feet also.' The division would have to 
be of a subtle character — of a character which 
could not be readily detected. Thus the cup- 
board might be three feet five inches, and 
the drawers collectively two feet seven inches. 
If the drawers are not all to be of the same 
dep'th, then the relation of one drawer, as 
regards its size, to that of another must be 
considered, an J of each to the cupboard above. 
In like manner the proportion of the panels 
cf the doors to the styles must be thought 
out ; and until all this has been done no 
work should ever be constructed. 

Next comes the enrichment of parts. 
Carving should be sparingly used, and is 
best confined to mouldings, or projecting or 
terminal ends. If employed in mouldings, 

those members should be enriched which are more or less completely guarded 
from dust and injury by some overhanging member. If more carving is used, 
it should certainly be a mere enrichment of necessary structure — as we see on 
the legs and other uprights of ^Ir. Grace's sideboard, by Pugin (Fig. 41). I am 
not fond of carved panels, but should these be employed the cai-\-ing should never 
project beyond the styles sm-rounding them, and in all cases of carving no pointed 
members must protrude so as to injure the person or destroy the dress of those who 
use the piece of furniture. If carving is used sparingly, it gives us the impression 

Fia-. 40. 



Fif,'. 41. 


that it is valuable ; if it is lavishly employed, it appears to be comparatively worth- 
less. The aim of art is the production of repose. A large work of furniture which 
is carved all over cannot produce the necessary sense of repose, and is therefcre 

There may be an excess of finish in works of carving connected with cabinet- 
work ; for if the finish is too delicate there is a lack of effect in the result. A piece 
of furniture is not a miniature woi'k, which is to be investigated in every detail. 
It is an object of utility, which is to appear beautiful in a room, and is not to 
command undivided attention ; it is a work which is to combine with other works 
in rendering an ajjartment beautiful. Tlie South Kensington ]Museum purchased in 
the last Paris International Exhibition, at great cost, a cabinet from Fourdonois ; but 
it is a very unsatisfactoiy specimen, as it is too delicate, too tender, and too fine for 
a work of utility — it is an example of what should be avoided rather than of what 
should be followed. Tlie delicately can-ed and beautiful panels of the doors, if cut 
in marble and used as mere pieces of sculpture, would have been worthy of the 
highest commendation ; but works of this kind wrought in a material that has a 
" grain," however little the grain may show, are absurd. Besides, the subjects are 
of too pictorial a character for " applied work" — that is, they are treated in too 
pictorial or naturalistic a manner. A broad, simple, idealised treatment of the 
figure is that which is alone legitimate in cabinet work. 

Supports or columns carved into the form of human figures are always 

Besides carving, as a means of enrichment, we have inlaying, painting, and 
the applying of plaques o£ stone or earthenware, and of brass or ormolu enrich- 
ments, and we have the inserting of brass into the material when buhl-work 
is formed. 

Inlaying is a very natural and beautiful means of enriching works of furniture, 
for it leaves the flatness of the surface undisturbed. A g^eat deal may be done in 
this way liy the employment of simple means. A mere row of circular dots of 
black wood inlaid in oak will .often give a remarkably good effect ; and the dots 
can be "worked" with the utmost ease. Three dots form a trefoil, four dots a 
quatrefoil, six dots a hexafoil, and so on, and desirable effects can often be produced 
by such simple inlays. 

Panels of cabinets may be painted, and em-iched with ornament or flatly- 
treated figure subjects. This is a beautiful mode of decoration very much 
neglected. The couch (Fig. 37) I intended for enrichment of this kind. If this 
form is employed, care should be exercised in order that the painted work be in all 
cases so situated that it cannot be rubbed. It should fill simk panels and hollows 
and never appear on advancing members. 

I am not fond of the application of plaques of stone or earthenware to works 



of furniture. Anytliing that is brittle is not suitable as an enrichment of wood- 
work, unless it can be so placed as to be out of danger. 

Ormolu ornaments, when applied to cabinets and other works in wood, are 
also never satisfactory. They look too separate from the wood of which the work is 
formed — too obviously applied ; and whatever is obviously applied to the work, and 

is not a portion of its general 
fabric, whether a mass of flowers 
even if carved in wood or an 
ormolu ornament, is not pleasant. 
Buhl-work is often veiy 
clever in character and skilfully 
wrought, but I do not care for it. 
It is of too laborious a nature, 
and thus intrudes upon us the 
sense of labour as well as that of 
skill. As a means of enrichment, 
I approve of carving, sparingly 
used, of inlays, and of jiainted 
ornament in certain cases ; and 
l)y the just employment of these 
means the utmost beauty in 
cabinet-work can be achieved. 
Ebony inlaid with ivory is very 

In order to illustrate my 
remarks respecting cabinets, side- 
boai'ds, and similar pieces of 
furniture, I give an engraving of 
a sideboard executed liy INIr. Grace, 
from the design of ISIr. A. Welby 
Pugin (the father), to which I 
have before alluded (Fig. -11), and 
a painted cabinet by I\Ir. Burgess (Fig. 42), the well-known Gothic architect, whose 
architecture must be admired. Both of these works are worthy of study of a very 
careful kind. 

In the sideboard, notice first the general structure or construction of the 
work, then the manner in which it is broken into parts, and lastly, that it is the 
structural members which ai-e carved. If this work has faults, they are these : 
first, the carving is in excess — thus, the panels would have been better plain ; and, 
second, in some i)arts there is a slight indication of a stone structure, as in the 
buttress character of the ends of the sideboard. 

Fig. 42. 


To the cabinet much more serious objections may be taken. 
1st. A roof is a means whereby the weather is kept out of a dwelling, and 
tiles afford a means whereby small pieces of material enable us to form a perfect 
covering to our houses of a weather-proof character. It is very absurd, then, to 
treat the roof of a cabinet, which is to stand in a room, as if it were an entire 
house, or an object which were to stand in a garden. 

2nd. The windows in the roof, which in the ease of a house let light into 
those rooms which are placed in this part of the building, and are formed in a 
particular manner so as the more perfectly to exclude rain, become simply stupid 
when placed in the roof of a cabinet. These, together with the imitation tiled 
roof, degrade the work to a- mere dolFs house in appearance. 

ord. A panelled structure, which is the strongest and best structure, is ignored ; 
hence strong metal bindings are necessary. 

The painting of the work is highly interesting, and had it been mure flatly 
treated, would then have been truthful, and would yet have lent the same interest 
to the cabinet that it now does, even if wn consider tlie matter from a purely 
pictorial point of view. 

Before we jiass from a consideration of furniture and cabinet-work generally, 
we must notice a few points to which we liave as yet merely referred, or which we 
have left altogether luinoticed. Thus we have to consider upholstery as applied to 
works of furniture, the materials employed as coverings for seats, and the nature of 
picture-frames and curtain-poles ; we must also notice general errors in furniture, 
strictly so called. 

When examining certain wardrobes and cabinets in the International Exhibi- 
tion of ISG^, I was forcibly impressed with the structural truth of one or two of 
these works. One especially commended itself to me as a fine structural work of 
classic character. Just as I was expressing my admiration, the exhibitor threw open 
the doors of this weU-formed wardrobe to show me its internal fittings, when, fancy 
my feelings at beholding the first door bearing with it, as it opened, the two 
pilasters that I conceived to be the supports of the somewhat heavj' cornice above, 
and the other door bearing away the third support, and thus leaving the super- 
incumbent mass resting on the thin sides of the stnicture only, while they appeared 
altogether unable to perform the duty imposed upon them. " Horrible ! horrible !" 
was all I could exclaim. 

Some of the most costly works of furniture shown by the French in the last 
Paris International Exhibition were not free from this defect; and this is strange, 
for to the rightly constituted mind this one defect is of such a grave character as to 
neutralise whatever pleasure might otherwise be derived from contemplating the 
work. We see a man, a genius perhaps — a man having qualities that all must 
admire; but he has one great vice — one sin which easily besets him. While the 



man has excellent and estimable qualities, we yet avoid him, for we see not the 
excellences but the vice. It is so with such works of furniture as those of which we 
have been speaking, for their defects are such as impress us more powerfully than 
their excellences. 

Respecting these works of furniture, this should be said : they are more or less 
imitative of works of a debased art-period — of a period in which structural truth was 
utterly disregarded — yet this is no reason why we should copy the defects of our 

Infinitely worse than the works just spoken of, is falsely constructed Gothic 
furniture, where the very truthfulness of structure is openly set before us. Not long 
since I was staying with a client whose house is of Gothic style. Being about to 
furnish di-awings for the decorations of thi^ mansion, I was carefully noting the 
character of the architecture and of the furniture, which latter had been designed and 
manufactured expressly for the house by a large Yorkshire firm of cabinet-makers. 
The structure of the furniture appeared just, the proportions tolerably good, the wood 
honest, and the inlays judicious ; but, can it be imagined, the whole was a mere 
series of frauds and shams — the cross-grain ends of what should be supports were 
attached to the fronts of drawers, pillars came away, and such falsity became 
apparent as I never before saw. How any person could possibly produce such 
furniture, be he ever so degraded, I cannot think. I have seen works that are bad, 
I have seen falsities in art, but I never before saw such falsity of structure and such 
uncalled-for deception as these works presented. The untrue is always offensive ; 
but when a special effort is made at causing a lie to appear as truth, a double sense 
of disappointment is experienced when the untruthfulness is discovered. 

In his work on " Household Taste," to which I have before alluded, Mr. Eastlake 
o'bjects, and I think very justly, to the character of an ordinary telescopic dining- 
table. He says : "Among the dining-room appointments, the table is an article of 
furniture which stands greatly in need of reform. It is generally made of planks of 
polished oak or mahogany laid upon an insecure framework of the same material, and 
supported by four gouty legs, ornamented by the turner with mouldings which look 
like inverted cups and saucers piled upon an attic baluster. I call the framework 
insecure, because I am describing what is commonly called a 'telescope' table, or 
one which can be pulled out to twice its usual length, and, by the addition of extra 
leaves in its middle, accommodate twice the usual number of diners. Such a table 
cannot l)e soundly made in the same sense that ordinary furniture is sound; it must 
depend for its support on some contrivance which is not consistent with the material 
of which it is made. Few peojile would like to sit on a chair the legs of which slid 
in and out, and were fastened at the required height by a pin ; there would be a 
sense of insecurity in the notion eminently unpleasant. You might put up with 
such an invention in camp, or on a sketching expedition, but to have it and use it 



under yoiir own roof, instead of a strong and serviceable chair, would be absurd. 
Yet this is very much what we do in the case of the modern dining-room table. 
When it is extended it looks weak and untidy at the sides ; when it is reduced to its 
shortest length the legs appear heavy and ill-proportioned. It is always liable to 
get out of order, and from the very nature of its construction must be an inartistic 
object. "Why should such a table be made at all? A dining-room is a room to dine 
in. Whether there are few or many people seated for that purpose, the table might 
well be kept of a uniform length, and if space is an object it is always possible to 
use in its stead two small tables, 
each on four legs. These might 
be placed end to end when dinner 
parties are given, and one of them 
would suffice for family use. A 
table of this kind might be solidly 
and stoutly framed, so as to last 
for ages, and become, as all fm-- 
niture ought to become, an heir- 
loom in the family. When a man 
builds himself a house on freehold 
land, he does not intend that it 
shall only last his lifetime; he 
bequeaths it in sound condition 
to posterity. We ought to be 
ashamed of furniture which is 
continually being replaced ; at all 
events, we cannot possibly take 

any interest in such furniture. In former days, when the principles of good 
joinery were really understood, the legs of such a large table as that of the dining- 
room would have been made of a very different form from the lumpy, pear-shaped 
things of modern use." 

In nearly all these remarks I agree with jNIr. Eastlake, and especially in his 
remark that, owing to the very nature of its construction, a modern dining-table 
must be an inartistic object. No work can be satisfactory in which any portions of 
the true supporting structure or frame are drawn apart; and this occurs to a marked 
degree in this table, as is shown in Mr. Eastlake's illustration, which we here copy 
(Fig. 43). 

Falsities of structure, although not so glaring as that of the telescopic dining- 
table, are everywhere met with in our shops, and, curious as it may appear, the great 
majority of the works offered to the public are not only fiilse in stracture, but are 
utterly offensive to good taste in every way, and are formed almost exclusively of 

Fig. 43 



wood cut across the grain, which securea to the article the maximum amount of 
weakness. Figs, -li-, 15, 40, and J.7 are examples of utterly bad furniture. 


Fig. 44. 

Fig. 45. 

Fig. 413. 

Fi^'. 47. 

Another falsity in furniture is veneering — a pi-actice which should be wholly 

al)andoned. Simple honesty is preferable to false show in all cases; truthfulness in 
utterance is always to be desired. It was customary at one time to veueer almost 


eveiy work of funiiturej and even to place the grain of the veneer in a manner totally 
at variance with the true structure of the framework which it covered. This was a 
method of making works, which might in their unfinished state be satisfactory, 
ap^iear when finished as most unsatisfactory objects. Since this time much progress 
has been made in a knowledge of trutliful structure and of truthful expression, yet 
this method of giving a false surface by means of veneer is not wholly abandoned as 
despicable and false. 

A few montlis back I had occasion to visit a cabinet warehouse in Lancashire, 
and the owner called my attention to the fine grain of some old English oak, and 
remarked that certain pieces of furniture were of solid wood. Upon investigation, 
however, I discovered that while the furniture in question was made throughout of 
oak, the bulk of the structure was of common wainscoting, and the surface was 
veneered with English oak. I confess that I would much rather have had the 
furniture w-ithout its false exterior, and daily my love for fine grain in wood gets 
less. I think that this arises from the fact that strong grain in wood takes from 
the " unity " of the work into which it is formed, and tends to break it up into 
parts, by rendering every member conspicuous. ^Vhat is wanted in a work of 
furniture, before all other considerations, is a fine general form — a harmony of all 
parts — so that no one member usurps a primary place — and this it is almost im- 
possible to achieve if a wood is employed having a strongly marked grain. 

With us a room is considered as almost unfurnished if the windows are not 
hung with some kind of drapery. The original object of this drapery was that of 
keeping out a draught of air, which found its way through the imperfectly fitting 
windows ; and the antitype of our window-hangings was a simj)le curtain, formed of 
a material suitable to achieve the purpose sought. Such a curtain was legitimate 
and desirable, and would contrast strangely with the elaborate festooning and 
quadrupled curtains of our present windows. We daily see yards of valuable 
material, arranged in massive and absurd folds, shutting out that light which is 
necessary to our health and well-being ; a pair of heavy stuff curtains' and a pair 
of lace curtains being hung at each window, each curtain consisting of a suffi- 
cient amount of material to more than cover the window of itself. An excess of 
drapery is always vulgar, while a little drapery usefully and judiciously employed 
is jileasant. 

Many windows that are well made, and thus keep out all currents of air, need 
no curtains. If the window mouldings are of an architectural character, and are 
coloure'd much darker than the wall, so as to become an obvious frame to the window, 
and thus do for the window what a picture-frame does for a picture, no curtains will 
be required. I have recently had a wonderfully striking illustration of this. Two 
adjoining rooms are alike in their architecture; one is decorated, and has the window 
casement of such colours as strongly contrast, while the}- are yet harmonious, with 



the wall. Before the room was decorated, and the windows were thus treated, a 
general light colour prevailed, both ou the wood-work and on the walls of the room, 

and curtains were hung at the windows in 
the usual way. With the altered decora- 
tions, the windows became so effective that I 
at once saw the undesirability of re-hanging 
the curtains, and yet not one of all my 
friends has observed that there are no cur- 
tains to the windows; while if the curtains 
are removed from the adjoining niom, where the window-frames are as light as the 
walls, the first (question asked is, " Where are yom- curtains ?" 

Ciu-tains should be hung on a simple and obvious pole (Fig. IS). All means 

of hiding this pole are foolish and 
useless. This pole need not bo very 
thick, and is better formed of wood 
than of metal, for then the rings to 
which the cm-tains are attached pass 
along almost noiselessly. Tlie ends 
of the iK)le may be of metal, but I 
prefer simple balls of wood. The 
pole may be grooved, and any little 
enrichments may be introduced into 
these grooves, providing the carving 
does not come to the surface, and 
thus touch the rings, which liy their 
motion would injure it. ^Vhatever 
is used in the way of enrichment 
should be of simple character, for 
the height at which the curtain pole 
is placed would render fine work 
altogether ineffective. 

As to upholstery, I would say, 
never indulge in an excess. A wood 
frame should appear in every work 
of furniture, as in the examples we 
have given. Sofas are now made as though they were feather beds ; they are so 
soft that you sink into them, and become uncomfortably warm by merely resting 
upon them, and their gouty forms are relieved only by a few inches of wood, 
which appear as' legs. Stuffing should be employed only as a means of rendering 
a properly constructed seat comfortably soft. If it goes beyond this it is vulgai- 




7 \. 




Fig. 41i. 




Fig. 50 


and objectionable. Spring stufllng is not to be altogether commended ; a good 
old-fashioned hair-stuffed seat is more desirable, as it will endure when springs have 
perished. As to the materials with which seats may be cov^ered I can say little, for 
they are many. Hair cloth, although very durable, is altogether inartistic in its 
effect. Nothing is better than leather for dining-room cliairs ; Utrecht velvet, 
either plain or embossed, looks well on library chairs ; silk and satin damasks, 
rep, plain cloth, and many other fabrics are appropriate to drawing-room furniture. 
Chintz I am not fond of as a chair covering, and in a bed-room I would rather 
have chairs with plain wooden seats than with cushions co\cred with this glazed 

With a mere remark upon picture-frames I will finish this chapter. Picture- 
frames are generally elaborately carved mouldings, or are simjde mouldings covered 
with ornaments, which, whether carved or formed of putty, are overlaid with 
gold leaf; they are, indeed, highly ornamented gilt mouldings. I much prefer 
a well-formed, yet somewhat simple, black polished moulding, on the interior of 
which runs a gold bead (Kg. 49). A fanciful yet good picture-frame was figured 
in the Building News of September 7th, 18G6, which we now repeat (Fig. -50). 



Division I. — General Consideuations — Ceilings. 

Having considered furniture, the formation of which requires a knowledge of 
construction, or of what we may term structural art, we pass on to notice principles 
involved in the decoration of surfaces, or in " surface decoration," as it is usually 
called. We commence by considering how rooms should be decorated ; yet, in so 
doing, we are met at the very outset with a great difficulty, as the nature of the 
decoration of a room should be determined by the character of its architecture. 
My difficulty rests here. How am I to tell you what is the just decoration for a 
room, when the suitability of the decoration is often dependent upon even structural 
and ornamental details ; and when, in all cases, the character of the decoration 
should be in harmony with the character of the architecture? Broadly, if a building 
is in the Gothic style, all that it contains in the wa}' of decoration, and of furniture 
also, should be Gothic. If the building is Greek, the decorations and furniture 
should be Greek. If the building is Italian, all its decorations and furniture should 
be Italian, and so on. 

But there are further requirements. Each term that I have now employed, as 
expressive of a style of architecture, is more or less generic in character, and is 
therefore too broad for general use. What is usually termed Gothic architecture, is 
a group of styles having common origin and resemblances, known to the architect 
as the Semi-Norman or Transition style, which occiu-red in the twelfth century 
under Henry II. (it was at this time that the pointed arch was first employed). 
The Early English, which was developed in the end of the twelfth and early part of 
the thirteenth century, under Richard I., John, and Henry III. ; the Decorated, 
which occurred at the end of the thirteenth, and early portion of the fourteenth 
centurj, under Edward I., Edward II., and Edwai-d III. ; the Perpendicular, which 
occurred at the latter part of the fourteenth, and through the greater portion of the 
fifteenth century, under Richard II., Henry IV., V., and VI., Edward IV. and V., 
and Richard III. ; and, lastly, the Tudor, which occurred at the end of the fifteenth, 
and the beginning of the sixteenth century, under Henry VII. and Henry VIII. 
All these styles are popularly spoken of as one, and are expressed by the one term — 
Gothic. It is so also, to an extent, with the Greek, Roman, and Italian styles, for 
each of these appears in various modifications of character, but into such details we 


will not enter ; it must sufRce to notice that the character of the decoration must he 
not only broadly in the style of the architecture of the building' which it is intended 
to beautify, but it must be similar in nature to the ornament produced at precisely 
the same date as the architecture which has been employed for the building. 

It must not be supposed that I am an advocate of reproducing works, or even 
styles of architecture, such as were created in times gone by, for T am not. The 
peoples of past ages carefully sought to ascertain their wants — the wants resulting 
from climate — the wants resulting from the natu'-e of their religion — the wants 
resulting from social arrangements — the wants imposed by the building material at 
command. We, on the contrary, look at a hundred old buildings, and without 
considering our wants, as differing from those of our forefathers, take a bit from one 
and a bit from another, or we reproduce one almost as it stands, and thus we bungle 
on, instead of seeking to raise such buildings as are in all respects suited to our 
modern requirements. 

Things are, however, much better in this respect than they were. Bold men 
are dealing with the Gothic style in its various forms. Scott, Burgess, Street, and 
many others are venturing to alter it; and thus, while it is losing old characteristics, 
and is acquiring new elements, it is already assuming a character which has nobility 
of expression, truthfulness of structure, and suitability to our special requirements. 
In time to come, further changes will doubtless be made ; and thus the style which 
arose as an imitation of the past will have l>eeome new, through constantly departing 
from the original type, and as constantly adopting new elements. 

I have said that the decoration of a building should be brought about by the em- 
ployment of such ornament as was, in time past, associated with the particular form 
of architecture employed in the building to be decorated, if a precisely similar 
form of architecture previously existed. Let not the ornament, however, be a mere 
servile imitation of what has gone before, but let the designer study the ornament of 
bygone ages till he understands and feels its spirit, and then let him strive to 
produce new forms and new combinations in the spirit of the ornament of the past. 

This must also be carefully noted — that the ornament of a particular period 
does not consist merely of the forms employed in the architecture, drawn in colour 
on the wall, or the ceiling, as the ease may be. The particular form of ornament 
used in association with some forms of Gothic architectm-e was very different in 
character from what we might expect from the nature of the architecture itself, and 
did not to any extent consist of flatly-treated crockets, gable ends, trefoils, cinque, 
foils, etc. The ornament of the past must be studied in its purity, and not from 
those wretched attempts at the production of Gothic decoration which we often see. 

In what we may call the typical English house of the present day there is really 
no architecture, and if such a building is to be decorated it is almost legitimate 
to employ any style of ornamentation. In such a case I should choose a style 


which has no very marked features — which is not strongly Greek, or strongly 
Gothic, or strongly Italian ; and if there is the necessary ability, I should say try 
and produce ornaments having novelty of character, and yet showing your knowledge 
of the good qualities of all styles that are past. If this is attempted, care must be 
exercised in order to avoid getting a mere combination of elements from various 
styles as one ornament. Nothing can be worse than to see a bit of Greek, a 
fragment of Egyptian, an Alhambraie scroll, a Gothic flower, and an Italian husk 
associated together as one ornament ; unless this were done advisedly and in order to 
meet a very special want, such an ornamental composition would be detestable. 
What I recommend is the production of new forms ; but the new composition may 
have the vigour of the best Gothic ornament, the severity of Egj-ptian, the intri- 
cacy of the Pereian, the gorgeousness of the Alhambra, and so on, only it must not 
imitate in detail the various styles of the past. 

Now as to the decoration of a room. If one part only can be decorated, let that 
one part be the ceiling. Nothing appears to me more strange than that our ceilings, 
which can be properly seen, are usually white in middle-class bouses, while the walls, 
which are always in part hidden, and even the floor, on which we tread, should have 
colour and pattern applied to them ; and of this I am certain, that, considered from 
a decorative point of view, our ordinary treatment is wrong. 

We glor}' in a clear blue sky overhead, and we speak of the sky as increasing in 
l)eauty as it becomes deeper and deeper in tint. Thus the depth of the tint of the 
Italian sky is familiar to us all. Why, then, make our ceilings white ? I often ask 
this question, and am told that the whiteness renders the ceiling almost inrtsible ; 
hence it is preferred. This idea is very absurd; first, because blue is the most 
ethereal and most distant of all colours (see Chap. II., page 33) ; and, second, do we 
not build a house with the view of procuring shelter ? hence why do we seek to 
realise the feeling that we are without a covering over our heads ? We onlv like a 
white ceiling because we have been accustomed to such from infancy, and because 
we have been taught to regard a clean white ceiling as all that is to be desired. I 
knew a Yorkshire lady who, upon being asked b\- her husband whether she would 
like the drawing-room ceiling decorated, replied that she thought not, as she could 
not then have it re-whitewashed every year. The idea was clean certainly. Blue, I 
have said, is ethereal in character; it is so, and may become exceedingly so if of 
medium depth and of a grey hue ; hence, if a mere atmospheric effect was sought, 
it would be desirable that this colour be used on the ceiling rather than white. But, 
as we have just said, invisibility of the ceiling is absurd, as it is our protection from 
the weather. Further, the ceiling may become an object of great beauty, and it can 
be seen as a whole. Why then neglect the opportunity of arranging a beautiful 
object when there is no reason to the contrary ? We like a beautiful coloured vase, 
or, if we do not, we can have it whitewashed, or even dispense with it altogether. 



We like beautiful walls, or we would have them whitewashed also ; indeed, we like 
our surroundings generally beautiful. Why not, then, have beautiful ceilings, 

Fis. 51. 

especially as they can be seen complete, while the wall is in part hidden by furniture 
and pictures ? 

I will suppose that we have an ordinary room to deal with. First, take awa^ 



the wretched plaster ornament in the centre of the ceiling, for it is sure to be bad. 
There is not one such ornament out of a thousand that can be so treated as to make 
the ceiling- look as well as it would do without it. Now place all over the ceiling a 
flat painted or stencilled pattern, a pattern which rejieats equally in all directions (as 
Fig. 51), and let this pattern be in blue (of any depth) and white, or in blue (of any 
depth) and cream-colour, and it is sure to look well (the blue being the ground, and 
the cream-cohur or white the ornament). 

Simple patterns in cream-colour on blue ground, but having a black outline, 
also look well (Fig. .52) ; and these 
might be prepared in paper, and 
hung on the ceiling as common 
paper-hangings, if cheapness is 
essential. Gold ornaments on a 
deep blue ground, with Idack out- 
line, also look rich and effective. 
These are all, however, simple treat- 
ments, for any amount of colour 
may be used on a ceiling, provided 
the colours are employed in very 
small masses, and perfectly min- 
gled, so that the effect produced 
is that of a rich coloured bloom 
(see Chap. II., page 40). A ceiling 
should be beautiful, and should also 
be manifest J but if it must be 
somewhat indistinct, in order that 
the caprices of the ignorant be 
humoured, let the pattern be in 
middle-tint or pale blue and white 

I like to see the ceiling of a 
room covered all over with a suitable pattern, but I do not at all object to a large 
central ornament only, or to a centre ornament and corners ; especially if the 
cornice is heavy, so as to give compensating weight to the margin. I have recently 
designed and seen carried out one or two centre ornaments for drawing-rooms, 
which ornaments were twenty-one feet in diameter. A centre ornament, if properly 
treated, may be very large without looking heavy ; it may, indeed, extend at least 
two-thirds of the way from the centre to the margin of the ceiling. I do not speak 
of j)laster ornaments, but of flat decorations. 

If the ceiling is flat all ornament placed upon it must not only be flat also, but 

Yig. 5-2. 



must not fictitiously represent relief, for no shadod ornament can be pleasant -when 
jilaced as the decoration of a flat architectural surface. 

I have already noticed that the decoration of a room should be in character 
with its architecture, but that while this should be so, the ornament applied by way 
of enrichment should not be a servile copy of the decorative forms employed in 

Fig 53. 

ages gone l)y, but should Ije such as is new in character, while yet of the spirit 
of the past. 

Many circumstances tend to determine the nature of tlie decoration which 
should be applied to a ceiling : thus, if a ceiling is structurally divided into square 
panels, the character of the ornament is thereby restricted, and should these panels 
be large it will probably be desirable that each be fitfetl with the same ornament; 
while if they are small three or four different patterns may be employed, if arranged 
in some orderly or methodical manner. 



A ceilinij' may have the joists or beams visible upon it : in this case the 
decoration would have to be of a very special character. The bottoms of the joists 

might have a string pattern upon them (a running pattern), as the "Greek kej'," or 
guilloehc ; whilst the sides might have either a running pattern, or a pattern with 
an upward tendency, as the "Greek honej'suekle j " and the ceiling intervening 



between the joists might have a running pattern, or better, a star, or diaper pattern, 
or it might have l)ands running in the opposite direction to the joists, .so as, with 
them, to form s(|uaves, wliioh squares might be tilled with ornament. 

If, however, the ceiling is flat, and is not divided into sections structurally. 

Fig. 55. 

almost any " setting out " of the surface may be employed, as Fig. 5-3 ; or a large 
centre ornament, as P'igs. oi and 55 ; or a rosette distributed over the entire surface, as 
Fig. 56. In any case it is not necessary or even desirable that the ornament be in 
relief upon the ceiling. Flatly treated ornaments may be employed with advantage, 
and all fictitious appearance of relief, as we liave already said, must be avoided. 



There are so many different ways of setting out ceilings, that I cannot attemjit 
even to make any suggestions. I would simply say, however, Avoid an archi- 
tectural setting out, if there are no structural members ; for ornament which is flat 
may spread in any manner over a surface without even appearing to need structural 
supports. As to the colour of a ceiling if there is to be no ornament upon it, let it 
be a cream-colour (formed of white with a little middle-chrome) rather than white. 
Cream-colour alwa}'s looks well upon a ceiling, and gives the idea of puritj-. A 
grej'-blue is also a very desirable colour for a ceiling, such as is formed of pale 
ultramarine, white, and a 
little raw umber, just suffi- 
cient to make the blue 
slightly grey (or atmos- 
pheric) . In depth this blue 
should be about half-way 
between the ultramarine 
and white. Another effect 
which I like is produced by 
the full colour of pure (or 
almost pure) ultramarine. 
In this case the cornice 
should Ije carefully coloured, 
and pale blue and white 
should i^revail in it, but a 
little pure red must be 

A further and very de- 
sirable effect is produced by 
placing pale cream-coloured 

stars irregularly over the pale blue, or even the deep blue ceiling, or by placing 
pale blue stars upon the cream-coloured ceiling. The stars should vary for an 
ordinary room ceiling (say a room sixteen feet square by ten feet high) from 
about three inches from point to point down to one inch ; the larger stai-s havuig 
six points ; others being smaller and with five points ; and the small ones having, 
some four points, and some three. If such stars are irregularly (without order) 
intermixed over the ceiling, and yet are somewhat equally dispersed, a very pleasing 
and interesting effect will thereby be produced. This effect is in much favour with 
the Japanese. The stars, however, should be smaller if placed on a deep, than on a 
pale, blue ground. 

Another good effect is produced by giving the ceiling the colour of Bath, or 
Portland, stone, and stareing it with a deeper tint of the same colour. This effect 


Fig. 51 


is improved by each star having a very fine outline of a yet darker tint of tbe same 

I should recommend those interested in the decoration of ceilings to study 
carefully the Egyptian, Alhambra, and Greek Courts at the Crystal Palace, 
Sydenham, especially the two last named ; also to notice the ceiling in St. James's 
Great Hall, Piccadilly, London, and the ceiling of Ushaw College chapel near 
Durham. The ceilings in the Oriental Courts, by Mr. Owen Jones, at the South 
Kensington Museum are worthy of careful notice ; but the Renaissance ceilings in 
other parts of the Museum are both wrong in principle and are bad examples of their 
style. The structurally formed glass ceiling of the Crystal Palace Bazaar in Oxford 
Street, London, and still better, the ceiling of Mr. Osier's glass warehouse in 
Oxford Street, are well worthy of note. 

On the Continent we very frequently meet with ceilings on which large 
pictures have been painted, as in the Louvre and the Luxembourg in Paris ; and the 
authorities of the South Kensington Museum are making efforts to introduce this 
style into England, but such pictorial ceilings are in every way wrong. 

1st. A ceiling is a flat surface, hence all decoration placed ujwn it should 
be flat also. 

2nd. A picture can only be correctly seen from one point, whereas the deco- 
ration of a ceiling should be of such a character that it can be properly seen from 
any part of the room. 

3rd. Pictures have almost invariably a right and wTong way upwards. A 
picture placed on a ceiling is thus wrong way upwards to almost all the guests in 
the room. 

4th. In order to the proper understanding of a picture, you must see the whole 
of its surface at one time ; this is very difficult to do without almost breaking your 
neck, or being on your back on the floor, if the picture is on the ceiling; whereas an 
ornament which consists of repeated parts may render a ceiling beautiful without 
requiring that the whole ceiling be seen at the one glance. 

Most of the French pictorial ceilings are so painted that they are properly seen 
when the spectator stands with his back close to the fire. This is very awkward, as 
the rules of society do not allow us to stand in this position before company. 
Pictorial works are altogether out of place on a ceiling ; they ought to be framed 
and hung right way \ipwards upon walls where they can be seen. We have a well- 
known painted ceiling at the Greenwich Hospital. 

Arabesque ceilings, such as that of the Roman Court at the Crystal Palace, are 
also very objectionable. 

What can be worse than festoons of leafage, like so many sausages, painted 
upon a ceiling, with griffins, small framed pictures, impossible flowers, and feeble 
ornament, all with fictitious light and shade? But not content with such absurdities 


and incongruities, the festoons often hang upwards on vaulted or domed ceilings, 
rather than downwards. Such ornaments arose when Rome, intoxicated with its 
conquests, yielded itself up to luxury and vice rather than to a consideration of 
beauty and truth. 

Decorations like these were to an extent again revived by the groat painter 
Raphael ; Ijut it must ever be remembered that Raphael, while one of the greatest 
of painters, was no ornamentist. It requires all the energy of a life to become a 
great painter ; and it requires all the energy of a life to become a great ornamentist ; 
hence it is not expected that the one man should be great at the two arts. 

In all ages when decorative art has flourished, ceilings have been decorated. 
The Egyptians decorated their ceilings, so did the Greeks, the Byzantines, the 
floors, and the people of our Middle Ages, and a light ceiling appears not to have 
been esteemed as essential, or as in many cases desirable. It is strange that so few 
of our houses and public buildings contain rooms with decorated ceilings ; but the 
want is already felt, the fashion has set in, and many are at this present moment 
being prepared. We must get simple modes of enrichment for general rooms — 
modes of treatment which shall be effective, and yet not expensive — and then we 
may hope that they will become general. 

Division II. — Decorations op Walls. 

We must now devote ourselves to the consideration of wall decoration, or to the 
manner in which ornament shoidd be applied to walls with the view of rendering 
them decorative. 

It will appear absurd to say that all ornament that is applied to a wall should 
be such as will render tlie wall more beautiful than it would be without it ; but this 
statement is needed, for I have seen many walls ornamented in such a manner, that 
they would have looked much better if they had been perfectly plain, and simply 
washed over with a tint of colour. 

To ornament is to beautify. To decorate is to ornament. But a surface cannot 
be beautified unless the forms which are drawn upon it are graceful, or bold, or 
vigorous, or true, and unless the colours aj^plied to it are harmonious. Yet how 
many walls do we meet with even in good houses — walls of con-idors, walls of stair- 
eases, walls of dining-rooms, walls of libraries, and, indeed, w-alls of everj' kind of 
room- — which are rendered offensive, rather than pleasing, by the decorations they bear. 

A wall may look well without decoration strictly so called, and this statement 
leads me to notice the various ways in which walls may be treated with the view of 
rendering them beautiful. 

A wall may be simply tinted either with " distemper " colour, or oil colour 
" flatted." Distemper colour gives the best effect, and is much the cheapest, but it 
is iiol durable, and cannot be washed. Oil colour when flatted makes a nice wall, 



whether "stijipletl" or plain, and is Ijoth duralile and washable. An entire wall 
should never he varnished. 

I say that a wall can look \\M even if not decorated. Let mc g'ive one or two 


Fig. 5S. 

Fig. 57. 

instances ; l)ut, perhaps, I had better give treatments for the entire room, including 
the ceiling, and not for the wall simply. 

A good effect of a very plain and inexpensive character would be produced 
by having a black skirting, a cream-colour wall (.this colour to be made of the 

Fitr, 5a 

colour called middle-chrome and white, and to resemble in depth the best pure 
cream), a cornice coloure.l with pale blue of greyish tint, with deep blue, white, 
and a slight line of red, and a ceiling of blue of almost any depth. The ceiling 
colour to be pure French ultramarine, or this ultramarine mixed with white and 
a touch of raw luiiber (the cornice blues to be made in the same way) . The red 

E Walldr.UthlaEauon tniicn 

JUustrating Cornice, Ceiling & Jfall Colouring ^ 




in the cornice to be deep vermilion if very narrow (one-sixteenth of an inch), or 

carmine if broad.* 

A room of a slightly more decorative character would be produced by making 
the lower three feet of the wall of a different colour (])y forming a dado) from the 
upper part of the wall : thus, if the other parts of the room were coloured as in the 
example just given, the lower three feet might be red (vermilion toned to a rich 
Indian red with ultramarine blue) or chocolate (purple-brown and white, with a little 
orange-chrome) j this lower portion of the wall being separated from the upper 
cream-coloured portion by a line of 
black an inch broad, or better by a 
double line, the upper line being an 
inch broad, and the lower line three- 
eighths of an inch, the lines being 
separated from each other by five- 
eighths of the red or chocolate. 

I like the formation of a dado, for 
it affords an opportunity of giving 
apparent stability to the wall by 
making its lower portion dark ; and 
fm-niture is invariably much improved 
by being seen against a dark back- 
ground. Tlie occupants of a room 
always look better when viewed in 
conjunction with a dark l:)ackground, 
and ladies' dresses certainly do. The 
dark dado gives the desired back- 
o-round mtliout rendering it necessarv 
that the entire wall be dark. If the 

furniture be mahogany, it will be wonderfully improved by being placed against 
a chocolate wall. 

The dado of a room need not be plain; indeed, it may be enriched to any 
extent. It may be plain with a bordering separating it from the wall, such as 
Figs. 57, 5S, and 59, or the coloured border on Plate I. (frontispiece) ; or it may 
have a simple flower regularly dispersed over it ; or it may be covered with a 
geometrical repeating pattern, in either of which cases it would have a border ; or 
it may be enriched with a specially designed piece of ornament, as Fig. 60. This 
particular pattern should not, however, be enlarged to a height of more than twenty 


Fit;. dO. 

* In some paa-ts of the country it is customary to wash the cornice over with quick-lime. 
If this has been done the lime must be carefully removed, for Ume will turn tariuine black. 


100 McCAUL ST. 



to twenty-four inches; but if of this widtli, and above a skirting of twelve or 
fifteen inches, it would look well. 

I have designed two or three narrow dado i)apers for Messrs. Wylie and 
Lockhead, of Glasgow, which are aliout eighteen inches broad, and are printed in the 

direction of the length of 
the paper, so as to save 
unnecessary joins ; and 
Messrs. Jeffrey and Co., 
of Essex Road, Islington, 
are issuing a complete 
series of my decorations 
for walls, dados, and 

If the dado is en- 
riched with ornament, and 
the cornice is coloured, 
and a pattern spreads all 
over the ceiling, the walls 
can well be plain, but 
they may be covered with 
a simple " powdering" as 
the i)atterns in Fig. 01, 
if these are in soft coloui-s, 
or with patterns such as 
those set forth in colours 
on Plate I. ; but these, 
csi)ecially that on the blue 
ground, would only be 
used where a very rich 
effect is desired. 

A good room would 
be produced by j^attern 
Fig. 52 being on the 
ceiling in dark lilue and cream-colour, liy tlio cornice being coloured with a pre- 
valence of dark blue, the walls being creani-coloiu' down to the dado; the border 
separating the dado from the wall being black ornament on a dull orange-colour; 
and by the dado being chocolate with a black rosette upon it; the skirting boards 
being bright black. The dado may or may not be varnished; the upj^er part 
of the wall can only be "dead" (not varnished — dull). If the room is high a 
bordering may run round the upper portion cif the wall, alwut three to four inches 

FiL'. Gl. 



below the cornice ; such a border as Fig'. 02 ma\- be employed in dull ci-ange 
and chocolate. 

A citrine wall comes well with a deep blue, or blue and white ceiling, if tlue 
prevails in the cornice, and this wall may have a dark blue (ultramarine and black 
with a little white) dado, or a rich maroon dado (browTa-lake) . If the blue dado is 
employed the skirting should be indigo, which, when varnished and seen in con- 
junction with the blue, will appear as black as jet. (See the colom-ed examples on 
Plate II., and remarks on colour on pages 4-5 and 46.) 

Walls are usually papered in middle-class houses. I must not object to this 
universal custom ; but I do say, try to avoid show^ing the joinings of the various 
strips. In all eases where possible cut the paper to the pattern, and not in straight 
lines, for straight joinings are very objectionable. If you use paper for walls, use it 


Fig. 62. 

ailistically, and not as so much paper. Let a dado be formed of one paper, the dado 
l)ordering (dado rail) of a suitable paper bordering ; the upper part of the wall 
being covered by another paper of simple and just design, and of such colour as 
shall harmonise with the dado. Proceed as an artist, and not as a mere workman. 
Think out an ornamental scheme, and then try to realise the desired effect. Avoid 
all papers in which huge bunches of flowers and animals or the human figure arc 
depicted. The best for all pm-poses are those of a simple geometrical character, or 
in which designs similar to those in Fig. 01 are "powdered" or placed at regular 
intervals over a plain ground. 

Just as the ceiling ornament must accord in character with the architectm-e of the 
room in which it is placed, so must the wall decoration be of the same style as the 
architecture of the room. Indeed, whatever we have said i-especting the harmony of 
the ceiling decoration with the architecture of the building, applies equally to the 
ornamentation of the wall. 

It has been customary to arrange walls into jianels when decorating them, and 



of this mode of treatment we give one illustration (Fig. G3) ; yet nothing can be more 
absurd than such a treatment, unless the wall is architecturally (structurally) arched. 
A wall may l)e so formed that some parts are thick, so as to give the required strength, 
while other portions are thin. In such a case the wall would be formed of arched 

Fig. 63. 

recesses and thickened piers alternately. This being the case, the decoration should 
be so applied as to emphasise, or render apparent, this arched structure ; but if the 
wall is of one thickness throughout, its division into arches is absurd and foolish. 

We sometimes see great follies, and even gross untruths, perpetrated with the 
view of bringing about the so-called decoration of a room. Thus it is not 


uufrequently that we meet with imitation pillars, recesses, and arches as the so-called 
ornamentation of a room. 

In low music halls we are not surprised by such decorations, for we do not look 
for truth or any manifestation of delicacy of feeling in such places. Falsity and the 
untrue appear in natural juxtaposition with the debased and the vulgar. Sham 
marble pillars, a fictitious and merelj'^ imitative architecture, an assumed and unreal, 
yet coarse and vulgar, gorgeousness, are the natural adjuncts of immorality and vice; 
but such falsities cannot be tolerated in the abodes of those who pretend to purity 
and truth, nor in the buildings which they frequent ; yet even the new Albert Hall 
has sham marble pillars (I say this to our shame), and but recently I visited a 
church near EJgware, in which there is a display of false decoration such as I nevei 
before saw. Here we find sham pillars, giving a false architecture ; sham niches, 
containing sham statues ; sham clouds, forming an absurd ceiling ; and almost every 
falsity which a falsely constituted mind could perpetrate. 

How strange it is that in a church, where purity and truth are taught, the 
whole of the decorations should be a sham ! It is said that if you want to hear a 
fierce quarrel, and to see true hatred, you must seek it in religious sects and among 
theological discussionists. On the same principle, I suppose, we must prepare 
ourselves for a display of the worst art-falsity in the sacred edifice. Perhaps the 
idea is that of contrast. As the teetotal lecturer had a drunken man by him as 
a frightful example of what was to be avoided, so the decorations of this church may 
be intended as a warning, rather than as an example of what should be followed. 
Happily such churches as this are rare, and it can be truly said that ecclesiastical 
architecture and decoration has made great strides with us in recent years, and that 
in very many instances it is rigidly truthful as well as beautiful. 

Before leaving the consideration of wall decorations, I must object to all 
imitations, as sham marbles, granites, etc., for no wall can be satisfactory which is to 
any extent a display of false grandeur ; and this is curious, that in many cases it 
costs more to produce an imitation marble staircase than it would to line the same 
walls with the marbles imitated. I have known a case in which the imitation has 
cost double what the genuine stone would have cost, and siich a case is not 
exceptional, for hand-polished work is always expensive. To imitations of marbles 
and granites, as I have already said, I strongly object, and of the genuine stone I am 
not fond, unless sparingly and judiciously used. My objections to its free use are 
these : — 1st. Harmony of colour depends upon great exactness of tint. This 
exactness is rarely attainable in the case of two marbles. One stone mny, however, 
be brought into direct and perfect harmony with a coloured wall, by the tint of the 
wall being carefully suited to the marble. 2nd. The true artist thinks less of the 
costliness of the material of which he forms his works than of the art-effect produced. 
Thus the old Greeks, who were full of art-feeling and refinement, coloured the 


buildings which they coustinietcd of white marhle^ and they certainly thereby 
improved them ; for colour, if harmoniously employed, lends to objects a new 
charm — a charm which they would not without it possess. I must further say, 
before leaving our present subject, that all walls, however decorated, should serve as 
a background to whatever stands in front of them. Thus they must retire even 
behind the furniture by their unobtrusiveness. 

The order of arrangement in furnishing must be this. The living beings in a 
room should be most attractive and conspicuous, and the dress of man should be of 
such a character as to secure this. Ladies can now employ any amount of colour in 
their attire; but poor man, however noble, cannot by his dress be distinguished 
from his butler ; and, worst of all, both are dressed in an unbecoming and inartistic 
manner. Next come the furniture and draperies — the one or the other having 
prominence according to circumstances ; then come the wall and floor, both of which 
are to serve as backgrounds to all that stands in front of them. In decorating walls, 
or in judging of the merit or suitability of wall decorations, this must always be 
taken into consideration, that they are but enriched backgrounds ; and it should also 
be remembered that the nature of the enrichment applied is determined, to a great 
extent, by the character of the architecture of the building of which the wall forms 
a part. 

We come now to consider wall-papers, which are hangings prepared with the 
view of enabling us to decorate our walls at comparatively small cost. I may 
confess that I am not very fond of wall-papers under any circumstances. I prefer a 
tinted or painted wall. Yet they are largely used, and will be for a long time to 
come. I have already said that if wall-papers are used they should not be joined 
together with straight lines, and that we ought to consider them as so much 
art-material which should be used artistically. 

As to the nature of the pattern which a wall-paper should have, it is almost 
impossible to speak, as there are endless varieties; but as a rule it may be said that 
those consisting of small, simple, repeated parts, which are low-toned or neutral in 
colour, are the best. Most wall-jiaper patterns are larger than is desirable. The 
pattern can scarcely be too simjtle, and it should in all cases consist of Hat ornament. 

If the ornament is very good, and the pattern is the work of a true artist, it 
may be larger, for then the parts will be balanced and harmonised in a manner that 
could not be expected from a less skilful hand ; but even if by the most talented 
designer, it must ever be remembered that he has designed it at random, and not as 
a suitable decoration for any particular room. The man who selects the pattern for 
a particular wall must choose that which is suitable to the special case. 

Tlie effect of a wall-paper is materially affected by many circumstances. Thus, 
by the quantity of light admitted to the room — whether the room is dark or light ; by 
the aspect, whether it receives the sun's rays direct or does not; by the character 

WAl.I.-FAPER rA'l TEliNS. 


o£ the liybt, as \\liethei- ilireet from the sky, «r rellecteil l'n>in a o-reeu lawn, or 
red-hrick wall. All these things must be cousldered, and wliat looks well in ihe 
])atterii-ljook ma}' look bad uu a wall. 

Fig. 65. 

Fig. 64. 


Fig. 66. 

Fig. 67. 

As to colour, the best wall-paper patterns are those wliieh consist of somewhat 
strong" colours in very small masses — masses so small that the general effect of the 
paper is rich, low-toned, and neutral, and yet has a glowing- colour-bloom; but these 
are rarely to lie met with. 


raiNciri.Es ov design. 

It was a fashion some lime since to make wall-papers in imitation of woven 
fabrics, and this fashion has not wholly disai)peared yet, absurd though it be. It arose 
through the accident of a designer of wall-paper patterns having been a shawl pattern 
designer, and having a number of small shawl patterns on hand, which he disposed 
of as wall-paper patterns. A pattern \\liich is suitable for a woven fabric is rarely 
suitable to a printed fabric, and es])ecially when the one pattern is to be seen in folds 
on a moving object, and the other flat on a fixed surface. And at all times imitation 

by one material of another is 

untruthful, and it becomes 
specially absurd when we think 
that almost every material is 
capable of producing some 
good art-effect which no other 
material can. We should al- 
ways seek to make each material 
as distinctive iu its art-character 
as we can, and to cause each to 
apjicar as Ijeautiful as possible 
in that particular manner in 
which it can most naturally be 

A word should be said 
about the particular character 
which a wall-paper pattern 
should ha\c, but the remarks 
which I am now about to make 
will apply eijually to all iialterns 
employed as wall decorations. 
If we view trees or jilants, as we see them against the sky as a background, they are 
objects which point upwards and have a bilateral symmetry — their halves are alike 
(Figs. 64 and 65) — or are more or less irregular in form, and when seen in this 
view we may regard them as natural wall decorations. Our wall patterns, then, 
may point upwards, as in Fig. til, and be bilateral or otherwise; but it must be 
remembered that when the flowers of a primrose protrude from a bank they are 
regular radiating, or star, ornaments. I think that it is legitimate for us to use 
on a wall star, or regular radiating ornaments, as well as those having an upward 

I have said that when seen from the side plants are bilateral, or are more or less 
irregular. As I have referred to ])lants as furnishing us with types of ornament, I 
should not be doing rightly were 1 to leave this statement in its ]ircsent form; for 

Fig. 69. 


the tendency of the vital force of all plants is to produce structures of rigidly 
symmetrical character ; but insects, which eat buds and leaves, and blights, winds, 
and frosts, so act upon plants as to destroy their normal symmetry, hence we find an 
apparent want of symmetry in the arrangement of the parts of plants. 

Respecting the colouring of cornices, a few words should be said. 1st. Bright 
colours maij' here be employed. 2nd. As a rule, get red in shadow or in shade, blue 
on flat or hollow surfaces, especially those that recede from the eye, and yellow on 
rounded advancing members. 3rd. Use for red either vermilion or carmine ; for 
blue, ultramarine either pure or with white ; for yellow, middle chrome much diluted 
with white. 4th. Use red very sparinglj', blue abundantly, the pale yellow in 
medium quantity. 

Besides primary colours, none others need be used on the cornice. It is a 
mistake to use many, or dull, colours, here, but gold may be used instead of yellow. 
With the view of exjilaining the principles which we have just enunciated by 
diagrams, we give four illustrations (Figs. 66, 67, 68, 69), which I advise the 
student to try and colour in accordance with the principles just set forth. 



It is not my intention in this chapter to consider in detail tZe various kinds of 
carpet which are common in our marl^et, nor even to review the history of their 
manufaeture^ interesting as it woidd be to do so; for we must confine ourselves more 
particularly to an examination of the art-qualities which they present, and to the 
particular form of pattern which may be applied to them with advantage. 

Although we cannot here enter into a consideration of the manufacture of 
carpets, I cannot too strongly recommend all who intend preparing designs for them 
to consider minutely the jjowers of the carpet loom ; for the nature of the effect 
produced will depend to a large extent upon the knowledge which the designer 
possesses of the capabilities of the manufacture for which he designs patterns. In 
the case of any manufacture it is highly desirable, if not absolutely essential, that 
the designer of the patterns to be wrought should be acquainted with the process by 
which his design is to be converted into the particular material for which the pattern 
has been prepared ; for this knowledge, even when not absolutely essential, gives an 
amount of freedom and power which nothing else can supply. 

The carpets most extensively in use are "Brussels;" but there are many other 
kinds both of better and inferior qualities. " Kidderminster carpet" (a carpet not 
now made by even one Kidderminster manufacturer) is a common fabric suited to the 
bedrooms of middle-class houses ; but the art-capabilities of this material are very 
small, as it can on!}' have two colours in any line running throughout its length. 
This carpet consists of two thicknesses, which are imperfectly united, and is not 
durable. " Brussels carpeting," now made chiefly in Great Britain, is a good carpet 
for general purposes. Its surface consists of loops, and it may have five, or, if made 
of extra quality, six colours in any line running throughout its length. If with five 
colours in the same line the carpet will, in a sense, consist of five thicknesses of 
worsted; yet these are united into one fabric. In some cases a " Brussels carpet" is 
woven of very close texture, with the loops cut through ; thus we have a " velvet 
pile" or "Wilton carpet" — a fabric which is very rich-looking, and durable. 

Those called real "Asminster" carpets are, perhaps, the best made. They are 
formed by the knotting together of threads by hand, consequently any number of 
colours may be used in their formation ; but such are necessarily most costly. A 


" patent Axtninster " carpet is made by a double process of haud-weaving, by which 
fine results are achieved, and any number of colours used. In the first weaving' a 
rough "cloth" is formed, which is cut into strips called " chenille threads," and 
these are again woven into the carpet. This process is most ingenious, and the 
carpets produced by it are very good j but they are costly. 

Some few years since a most ingenious process of manufactiu-ing what are known 
as " tapestry " carjiets was patented — a process resembling in its nature that of the 
patent Axminster manufacture, but differing in this particular, that the " warp " 
threads are coloured by printing, and thus the first process of weaving is dispensed 
with. These carpets are, like Brussels, made with a looped surface, and also with a 
pile. They cannot be said to compare in any way with the patent Axminster carpets, 
which are of a pretentious and costly character, nor even with a good " Brussels ; " 
but they are low in price, and meet a want, as is proved by their enormous sale. 

Besides these varieties of carpet there are a number of kinds of foreign produc- 
tion, most of which are hand-made, and are very beautiful. By far the greater 
number of these have a " pile," although this is sometimes rough and uneven, jet 
rarely, if ever, inartistic; but a few are without pile; still these are not without that 
indescribable something which renders them estimable in the eye of an artist. 

Having hastily noticed the chief kinds of carpet in use in this country, and we 
might say in almost all countries, we come to the question — what form of pattern, 
or what character of ornament, should form the "enrichment" of such a fabric? 

When speaking in a previous chapter (see page Q~) of wall decorations, we 
noticed that a wall-paper pattern, or, indeed, a wall pattern of any kind, might 
desirably have an upward direction and a bilateral symmetry. This can never be the 
case, however, with a carpet pattern, which must be equally extended all over the 
surface, or have a simple radiating symmetry, as Fig. 56 ; and this rule will ajiply 
whether the pattern be simple or complicated. It is not wrong, as we have said 
before, to have a radiating pattern on a wall, but it is wrong to have a bilateral 
pattern on a floor. 

The reason of this is obvious. If such an object as we have indicated is placed 
on a wall, from whatever point the occupants of the room may view it, it is yet I'ight 
way upwards to them ; but if such an object were placed on a floor it would be wrong 
way upwards, or sideways, or oblique to most of those who viewed it; and to employ 
a pattern of this character in such a position is highly absurd, when a pattern can as 
readily be formed which will avoid this unpleasantness. What would we think were 
we asked to view a picture, or even to visit an apartment containing such, were this 
work of art presented to our view in an inverted manner ? We should feel astonished 
at the absurdity ; yet this would be no worse than expecting us to view a carpet 
while the pattern is to us in an inverted position. 

And the principle which we have just set forth is one taught bj' a consideration 



of plants. If we wander over the moor, where we tread on Nature's carpet, we find 
that all the little plants which nestle in the short mossy grass are " radiating orna- 
ments " — that is, they are pretty ohjects which consist of parts spreading regularly 
from a centre. 

I cannot too strongly advise the young ornamentist to study the principles on 
which Nature works. Knowledge of the laws which govern the development of 
plant-growth is very desirable ; hut it is not our place to imitate even the most 
beautiful of plant-forms — this being the work of the pictorial artists. Yet it is ours 

Fig. 70. 

Pig. 71. 

Fig 73. 

to study Nature's laws, and to observe all her V)eauty, even to her most subtle effects, 
and then we may safely pillage from her all that we can c««*/«/'<'«//y adapt to our own 
pui-poses. But in order that we produce ornament, we must infuse mind or soul into 
whatever we borrow from her. (See page 2.) 

With the view of more fully impressing the manner in which Nature teaches us 
principles which we may apply in art, and of aiding the student in his inquiries, we 
will give one or two illustrations. Thus Fig. 04 is a drawing of a spray of the 
guelder rose {Viljurninii ojmlux) when seen from the side, or, as I might express it, 
when viewed as a wall decoration; and Fig. 70 is the same spray as seen from above, 
or, to use the same manner of expression, when seen as a floor pattern. Further, 



Yi^. 71 reprpsents a youiii;- i)l:int (if a species of speedwell [Veronk'ii) as a wall orna- 
ment, and Fi-. 7:2, the same i^lant %\lien seen as a tloor ..rnament ; and Fi^s. (55 and 
73 represent a portion of the -oosej-rass {GalhiM Jjnu-nic) as seen in the same two 

Fig. 71. 

Fifr. 75. 

Fig. 76. 

From these illustrations we se» that plants furnish us with types of two 
essentially different ornaments, which are adapted to the decoration of the two 
positions of wall and floor, and maybe introduced with truthful expression and effect 
into wall-paper or carpet. 

Even when the leaves appear somewhat dispersed upon the stem, a ]irinciiile of 

Fig 77 

Fig. 78. 

Fife'. 79. 

order can yet he distinctly traced in the manner of their arrangement, as is 
diag'rammatieally expressed in Figs. 7-1, 75, 70 ; and here, also, the top view gives 
us a re.^'ular radiating ornament.* 

The same law prevails in the flower that we have traced as existing in the 
arrangement of leaves upon the stem: thus Fig. 77, which represents the London 
pride {Ha.eifraga umbrosa), affords an example of a regular radiating flower, which 

* The spray bei-e represented is that of the oak, and the diagi-am (Fig 74) shows the orderly manner in which the leaves spring from the stem. 



we find so placed, in different examples, as to appear as a floor or wall ornament; and 
Fififs. 78 and 79, the former being the flower of the speedwell {Veronica), and the 
latter that of the common pansy {Viola tricolor), furnish us with illustrations of 
bilateral flowers intended only as wall ornaments. In order to secure our seeing the 
pansy only laterally, it is furnished with a bent stalk ; hence it never rests horizon- 
tally upon the summit of its stem, but always hangs so that it is perfectly seen only 
from the side. 

There are cases, however, in which bilateral flowers are placed horizontally ; but 
it is very interesting to notice that when this occurs the disposition or arrangement 
of the flowers is such as to restore the radiating symmetry. Thus, if we take the 
candytuft {lieris) or the common hemlock {Coiiiiim), we find that while each flower 
is bilateral in character, the flowers are yet arranged around a centre in such a manner 
that the smaller portion of each flower points to the centre of the flower-head, while 
the larger parts point outwards from the centre of the group. These, then, are the 
teachings of jjlants, to which we are called upon to hearken. 

The above illustrations are not only useful examples of the suggestions of 
plant-forms to the ornamentist, but form excellent material to the art-student for 
the conventional treatment of leaves and sprays, buds and blossoms. They will also 
serve to indicate the kind of plant-forms that should be chosen for decorative purposes. 
Students of this branch of art would find it a useful practice to make a collection of 
flowers and plants or parts of plants that appear to offer features similar to those 
of which we have been writing, and test their capabilities for decorative purposes, 
by endeavouring to arrange them for the ornamentation of wall and floor, as we 
have treated the plant-forms indicated in this chapter. 

We have now seen the principle on wliich all carpet patterns should be 
constructed as distinctive from wall patterns, and in order to impress the necessity 
of giving a radiating basis to the ornaments placed upon carpets, and not a bilateral 
structure, we have referred to the principle of plant growth, where we noticed 
that all plants, when viewed as floor ornaments (when viewed from above), are of a 
radiating character; whereas if they are seen as wall or vertical ornaments, they 
are either radiating or bilateral. This is a necessity of a carpet pattern, that it have 
a radiating structure, or, in other words, that it point in more than two directions. 

]Man naturally accustomed to tread on grass, when brought into a state of 
civilisation, seeks some covering for his floor which shall be softer to the tread and 
richer in colour than stone or brick. And in our northern climate he seeks also 
warmth ; hence he chooses not a mere matting, or lattice of reeds, but a covering 
such as shall satisfy his requirements. 

In early times our floors appear to have been strewn with sand — a custom still 
lingering in some country districts; then came the habit of strewing reeds over the 
tioor, and on the part of the opulent, sweet-scented reeds [Acorns calamus). And it 


is curious to notice, in connection with this subject, tliiit one of the charges brought 
by Henry VIII. against Cardinal ^Volsey was that of extravagance in the use of 
sweet reeds. This use of reeds was succeeded by the employment of mats of simple 
appearance, formed of a kind of grass, and these by the introduction of wool mats, 
which, at first, were chiefly imported, but afterwards manufactui-ed in our own 
country. The wool mats were in their turn replaced b}- carpets, which graduallv 
increased in size till their proportions became such as to cover the entire floor 
on which they were placed. 

This brief history brings us to notice what is required of a carpet : — it should 
be soft in texture, rich in appearance, and of "bloomy" effect. 

We may add to these requirements by saying that a carpet should also be a 
suitable background to all works of furniture or other objects placed upon it, and 
that in character it should accord with the oljjects with which it is associated 
in any particular apartment. 

Considering more fully these requirements, we notice that a carpet should be 
soft. This is very desirable, for softness gives a sense of comfort, and with softness 
is generallj^ combined durability of the fabric ; but softness can scarcely be regarded 
as an art-quality. Yet as the art which an object bears is more leniently viewed 
when the fitness of the object to the purpose for Avhich it is intended is apparent, we 
may safely regard softness as a very desirable quality of a carpet. 

The Eastern carpets are pre-eminent in this quality of softness, and of English- 
made carpets "Brussels" and tapestr^^ are the least satisfactory in this way; as 
usually made, they have a hard "backing." A kind of Brussels carpeting with 
a soft back has recently been brought out, but at present it is not general in 
the trade. If the carpet employed in any apartment as a floor covering is harsh in 
character, it is desirable to place soft felt under it (felt for this purpose can be got 
at carpet warehouses), or evenly spread soft hay, for by so doing the wear of the 
fabric will be greatly increased, and the pleasure of walking on it will also be 
correspondingly greater. 

The next quality of a carpet is richness. No carpet is satisfactory which 
is " washy" or faded in appearance. There must be "depth" of effect, a "fulness" 
of art-quality. Hangings may be delicate, wall-decorations soft in tint, but a 
carpet must be rich and " full" in effect, jet a general softness of tone is desirable. 
But this richness must be of singular character, for the most desirable effect 
which a carpet can present is that of a glowing neutral bloom. 

I hope that my language does not appear mystical to the general reader or 
young student. To the ornamentist I think it will be intelligible. Wliat I wish 
to say is that the effect should be glowing, or radiant, or bright, as opposed to 
dull, quiet, or heavy ; that it should be such as results from the use of a pre- 
dominance of bright and warm colours, rather than of cold and neutral hues ; that it 



should be neutral, inasmuch as it should not present large masses of positive colour, 
but should have an equality of rich harmonious colours throuo-hout ; that it should 
be "bloomy," or have the effect of a fjarden full of flowers, or better, of the slope 
of a Swiss alp, where the Howers combine to form one vast harmonious "glow" of 


k- » * ^ ' \ " 

n , * n 



' nil 'I'm 'I I 

Fig. SU. 

colour. This is the effect which a carpet should present, yet it should never present 
flowers, imitatively rendered, as its ornamentation. Such imitative renderings are 
not to be produced by the ornamentist ; they must come from the pictorial artist, 
for they are pictures. They cannot form suitable Itackgrounds to furniture and 
living objects, for they are positive, and not neutral, in their general effect. A 
picture, also, will not bear repetition : whoever heard of one person having two 
copies of the same picture in one room ? Yet a pictorial group of flowers may 



be seen iv^peated many times over a floor, which is very objeetioiial^le. The effect to 
be producxl is lliat of a rich "colour-bloom;" Init the skilled ornamentist will 
achieve this without violating any laws of fitness, and will gently and delicately 
hint at the beauty of a profusion 



of blossdiu (lu'ouyli his tenderly 
formed pattern. 

Vet a carpet must be neutral 
in its general effect, as it is the 
background on which ol^jects 
rest. Neutrality of efl'ect is of 
two kinds. Large masses of 
tertiary or neutral colours wall 
achieve its production, so also 
will the juxtaposition of the 
primaiy colours in small quan- 
tities, either alone or with the 
secondary colours, and black or 
white; but there will be this 
dift'erence between the two effects 
— that produced by low-toned 
colours will be simply neutralj 
while that produced by the pri- 
mary colours will be "bloomy" 
as well as neutral, and if yellows 
and reds slightly predominate in 
the intermingling of colours, the 
effect will be glowing or radiant. 

The radiant, or glowing, 
bloomy neutrality of effect is 
that which it is most desirable 
that a carpet should present. 

This effect is rarely pro- 
duced in English carpets, owing 
either to the want of skill on 
the part of the ornamentist, who 
is unable to produce such works ; 

the want of judgment on the part of the manufacturer, whereby he fails to produce 
such patterns ; or the want of taste on the part of the consumer, owing to which he 
buys works of a more vulgar character. I have designed carpets in which I have 
sought to realise as nuicli of this effect a.s I could with six colours— the number to 



which I have heen limited Ijy the crmditions of manufacture, and fortunately these 
appear to be commanding- a large sale, and to be setting a fashion in carpets ; but 
those who wish to stud^- these bloomy effects in their more perfect forms, must do so in 
the carpets of India, Persia, Smyrna, and IMoi-occo, but esjwcially in the Indian rugs. 
Some of the carpets from India are perfect mar\e]s of colour-harmony, and of 

radiant bloom. They appear to glow 
as a l)cd of Howers in the sunshine, 
and yet they are neutral in their 
general effect, and when placed in 
an apartment do not usurp a primary 
place, as does any pictorially treated 

This " bloom " was seen to per- 
fection in one or two silk rugs which 
were shown at the International Ex- 
hibition of lS(i:I in London, and it 
was not much less apparent in some 
of the carpets from India shown in 
the Paris Exhibition of 1807. Most 
Indian carpets have this colour-Ijlooni 
to some extent, and few are unworthy 
of careful study. 

Persian carpets (Fig. 80) are • 
also models of what carpets should 
be ; they are less radiant than many 
of the Indian works, but are almost 
more mingled in colour-efEect. In 
pattern many of the Indian and 
Persian carpets are identical, being 
traditional, yet in colour they differ, and both are worthy of much consideration. 

The Morocco carpets (Fig. SI) differ again from both those of India and 
Persia, and even to a greater degree than the Persian carpet differs from the Indian. 
In these there is often a prevalence of soft yellows and juicy j-ellow-greens, inter- 
mingled with reds, blues, and grey-whites, in such a manner as to jiroduce a most 
harmonious and artistic effect. To the vounsj student, and to anv who mav desire 
to cultivate his taste in respect to such matters, I say. Study the carpets of the East 
most carefully, especially those of India, Persia, and Morocco. 

Indian carpets, such as we have just referred to, may be seen at the museum in 
the building of the new India Office at Whitehall, which museum is open free to the 
public (for examples, see Figs. 82, 83, 84). 

Fig. 82. 

all-over" and geometrical PATTEIiXS. 




As to the nature of tlie pattern whieh may be applied to a carpet, we have 
"all-over" patterns, or patterns spreading- regularly all over the surface; "geo- 
metrical" patterns, or those whieh have an apparent regularity of structure; and 
panel patterns, or those in which particiUar parts are, as it were, framed off from 
other parts. 

First, as to "all-over" patterns. These are what we almost always find in 
both Indian and Persian carpets, and are, undoubtedly, the true form of decoration 
for a woven Hoor covering. What is desirable is an evenly spread pattern, such as 
will give richness without destroying the unity of the entire effect. The pattern 
may have parts slightly accentuated 
or emiihasised beyond other parts, 
but not strongly so, and this em- 
phasising of parts must be arranged 
with the view of securing to the 
pattern special interest. Thus, if a 
carpet is viewed at a distance it 
should not appear as devoid of all 
pattern, but through the slight pre- 
dominance of certain leading features 
(in Indian carpets, generally of 
ornamental flowers) the plan of the 
design should be indicated, ilore 
detail should be apparent when the 
woi-k is seen from a nearer point of 
view, and still more upon close in- 
spection ; but in no case should any 
parts appear strongly pronounced, 

or otherwise than refined and beautiful, and in no case should there he a want 
of intercut manifested by the pattern. 

Carpet patterns are generally better if founded on a geometrical plan. In this 
way most of the Indian and Persian patterns are constructed. A geometrical jilan 
secures to the design a manifestation of order and thought in its formation. Panel 
patterns, unless very carefully managed, become coai-se. In some Indian carpets we 
find a sort of panel in which the colour of the ground is changed from that of the 
general ground of the carpet, but here the panel has usually a truly ornamental 
form, and is, indeed, rather a large ornament than a sort of frame enclosing a 
distinct space. AA'henever a panel occurs in an Indian, Persian, or Moorish carpet, 
it is so managed, and its surroiuidings are such, as to cause it to apj)ear as a part 
natural to the general design ; but it is far otherwise with the panel patterns which 
we occasionally see in our shop-windows as the produce of native industry, and it is 

Fig. 83. 



far otherwise willi those which are used in vast quantities hy the Amerioans. 
Jiulging- from the eari)ets which they order, I imagine that nowhere on earth is taste 
in matters of decorative art so depraved as it is in America. It is true tliat tlie 
great tioral patterns have ceased to be demanded by them, but they are only replaced 

Fig S4. 

by coarse, raw-lociking panel patterns, coloured in the most vulgar manner, and 
without even a hint at refinement or harmony of colour. Let the pattern be "loud" 
and inharmoniously coloured, and the chances of its sale in the American market 
are great. 

But we must not forget that even in our own country bad patterns sell equally 
as well as good, inartistic patterns as well as those which are of a more refined 
character, and that even here in CJreat Britain more of the indifferent, if not of the 


very l)ad, sells than of the good. Let us cast the beam, then, from our own 
eye, before we try to extract it from that of another. 

The ground colour of a carpet may vary much, as we all know; it may Ije black, 
blue, red, green, or white, or any other colour. If the ground of a carp.-t is pure 
white, it is almost impossible that it look well. When I make this assertion I am 
often told that some of the Indian carpets which I so much admire have white 
grounds. This is a mistake. Some of them have light grounds, but not pure 
white. They have light cream-grey, or green-white grounds, but not pure white, 
and this variety of tone altogether alters the case. Yet even wdth a light-toned 
ground it is not an easy hiatter to make a carpet which shall appear as a suitable 
background to the furniture of a room ; it can be done, but it is a thing diflicult to 
achieve. The safest and best ground for a carpet is black or indigo blue. If on 
this a closely fitting, well-studied pattern be arranged, drawn in small masses of 
bright colour, a beautiful bloomy effect may be achieved, and a glance at our 
best shop-windows will show that the most satisfactory carpets are coloured in 
this way. 

As to the size of the pattern we can say but little, as this will be determined by 
the coarseness or fineness of the fabric. In a Brussels carpet each stitch is about 
the one-tenth of an inch square. In some Turkey carpets each stitch is a quarter of 
an inch square. It is obvious that a much smaller and finer pattern can be produced 
in Brussels than in Turkey carpet. 

A carpet pattern is best small, or at least small in detail if not in the extent of 
the design. A pattern may repeat three or four times in the width of the fal)ric 
(twenty-seven inches if Brussels), or but one figure may be shown, yet in this 
latter case the detail of the pattern may be as great as in the former. That degree 
of smallness which is compatible with tolerable distinctness of detail is desirable. 
For this reason Turkey carpets are not altogether satisfactory ; no fine pattern can 
1 e worked in them, and besides this they have no colour-bloom and little eolour- 
hurmony. In some respects they are good, but altogether they are not satisfying. 

Before I close these remarks upon carpets, let me say that, as designers, 
manufacturers, and consumers, we are one and all timid of new things. We want 
daring — the energy to produce new things, to manufacture them, to use them. 
What if the pattern is "extreme," if it is better than others? what if Mrs. Grundy 
should think us eccentric ? — better be eccentric than ever harping on one monotony. 
If we could but bear calmly the derisive smiles of the ignorant, art-progress would 
be easy. 

With us carpets cover the entire floor. In London these carpets are nailed to 
the boards, and but seldom taken up. In some parts of England we find rings sewn 
around the under edge of the carpet, which rings are looped to the heads of nails. 
Carpets so furnished can be more readily removed for cleaning than those which are 



nailed to tlie floor. Sq\iare carpets, such as the Turkey, Indian, and Persian, are 
spread loosely on the boards, and can be taken up and shaken without difficulty. 
This is unquestionably the most healthy plan of using a carpet, and it is also an 
artistic plan. If the outer portion of the room floor is formed of inlaid wood of 
simple and suitable pattern, and a loose square carpet is spread in the centre, we 
have an artistic effect, and the desirable knowledge that cleanliness is also attainable 
with a reasonable expenditure of labour. 

Before we leave the consideration of carpets we will state in axiomatic form 
the conditions which govern the application of ornament to them, as reference 
can more easily be made to short concise sentences' than to more extended 

1st. Carpet patterns may with advantage have a geometrical formation, for this 
gives to the mind an idea of order or arrangement. 

2nd. When the pattern has not a geometrical basis, a general evenness of 
surface should be preserved. 

3rd. Carpets are better not formed into " panels,^' as though they were works 
of wood or stone ; on the contrary, they should have a general " all-over" effect 
without any great accentuation of particular parts. The Indian and Persian carpets 
meet this requirement. 

4th. While a carpet should present a general appearance of evenness, parts may 
yet be slightly "pronounced" or emphasised, so as to give to the mind the idea 
of centres from which the pattern radiates. 

5th. A carpet should, in some respects, resemble a bank richly covered with 
flowers; thus, when seen from a distance the effect should be that of a general 
"bloom" of colour; when viewed from a nearer point it should present certain 
features of somewhat special interest; and when looked at closely new beauties 
should make their appearance. 

Cth. As a floor is a flat surface, no ornamental covering placed on it should 
make it appear otherwise. 

7th. A carpet, having to serve as a backgroimd to furniture, should be of a 
somewhat neutral character. 

8th. Every carpet, however small, should have a border, which is as necessary 
to it as a frame is to a picture. 

Having thus summarised the principles that govern the application of ornament 
to carpets, we may proceed to notice the conditions governing the decoration of 
other woven fabrics. 



In the consideration of hangings of various kinds, we have first to notice the nature 
of the cloth on which the pattern is to be worked — whether it is of open or close 
texture. Fabrics of an open character should bear upon them a larger pattern 
than those which are thicker or closer. The openness or closeness of the fabric 
will thus determine, to an extent, the nature of the ornament which is to be placed 
upon it. Muslins, being open in character, should have larger patterns than calicoes, 
which are closer in texture, or the pattern will be indistinct in the one case or coarse 
in the other. 

But not only does texture influence the pattern when considered as to coarseness 
or fineness, but also the nature of the cloth as regards material. Thus silk will bear 
greater fulness of colour than muslins or calico-prints, owing to the fact that the 
lustre of the material, by reflecting light to the eye of the observer, destroys a 
certain portion of the intensity of the effect of colour which a less reflective material 
would exhibit. Silk, as a material, also conveys to the mind an idea of costliness or 
worth, and wherever the material does so the pattern may be richer in colour than it 
should be in cheaper and commoner fabrics. If a pattern is in two tints of the 
same colour only, as in the case of those woven silks where the pattern is formed by 
the contrast of "tabby" and satin, it may be considerably larger than in those cases 
where it is rendered conspicuous by colours. 

This latter remark will apply also to damask table-linen, and to all similar 
materials, as well as to dress fabj-ics, and draperies such as window hangings ; but of 
these we shall say a word shortly. 

Tlie closeness or openness of a fabric should, then, be considered when we design 
patterns for its enrichment, and so should the nature of the material, as this will 
influence its deadness or lustre. But there are also other considerations which must 
not be lost sight of. If the pattern is to be wrought by printing, then one class of 
conditions must be complied with ; if by weaving, then another class of requirements 
call for consideration. 

Tlie requirements of manufacture are much more numerous than might be 
supposed, and are in some cases very restrictive. The size of the repeat, the manner 
in which colour can be applied, the character of surface attainable, and many other 
considerations have to be carefully complied with before a pattern can appear as u 
manufactured article. 


The chief fault of patterns, as applied to fabrics generally, is their want of 
simplicity — want of simple structure, want of simple treatment, want of simplicity 
of effect; and together with this wa generally find largeness and eoarsenesss 
of parts. 

These errors arise chiefly out of a want of consideration of the capabilities of 
the material. What can be done with this or that particular fabric, is a question 
that we should carefully ask ourselves before we think of preparing a design. Have 
we colour at our disposal, or texture merely ? and if colour, can it be employed freely 
or only sparingly? and can any desired c<ilours be j)l;iced in juxtaposition or only 
certain tints ? These are questions of great importance, and they should be asked and 
carefully considered before the first step is taken towards the formation of a pattern. 
Having ascertained what can be done with the material at command, let us ever 
remember that we should always endeavour to so employ the capabilities of a 
material as to conceal its weakness and emphasise its more desirable effects. If this 
consideration were always given by designers to the power which the material has 
of yielding effects, we should see, in very many instances, effects strangely different 
from those which we often encoiniter ; and this remark applies to no class of fabrics 
more fully than to damask table-linen and coloured damask window hangings. 

No satisfactory effect can be got in light and shade upon any woven or printed 
fabric ; besides, to attempt such a mode of treatment is absurd. Light and shade 
belong only to pictorial art. The oruanientist when enriching a fabric deals only 
with a surface, and has no thought of placing pictures thereon ; he has simply to 
enrich or beautify that which without his art would be plain and unornamental. A 
picture will never bear repetition. "Who ever heard of a man having two copies of 
one picture in a room ? Yet how much more absurd is it to repeat a little picture — 
perhaps a pictorially rendered flower — a hundred times over one surface ! Besides 
this, a surface must always be treated, for decorative purposes, as a surface, and not 
in a manner calculated to deceive by giving apparent relief, or thickness, to that 
which is essentially without thickness. Take a common damask table-cover. This 
is by custom almost always white, although it would be better if of a deep cream- 
colour, or soft buff ; and the pattern which it bears results from a change of surface 
only (why a margin of " ingrain " colour is not added, I could never see) ; yet in 
nine cases out of ten tlie pattern which is presented by such a fabric is a miserable 
shaded attempt at a pictorial treatment, and is also a thorough failure. 

Simplicity of pattern naturally accords with a simple mode of production, and 
the means of producing pattern in damasks is certainly most simple. That there is . 
a natural harmony between simplicity of pattern and simple means of producing an 
art-effect is obvious, for of all patterns that I have ever seen upon damask table- 
linen the simple spot, or dot, is the most satisfactory. If, combined with this spot, 
we have a border formed of a simple Greek " key-jwttern," or of mere lines (a very 


usual border to good cloths), the effect is perfectly satisfying, and, as fur as it goes, 
is highly to be commended. 

It is curious that this spot is only sold in the better quality of table-linen (at 
least so they tell me in the City), and this shows that the wealthy, or, in other 
words, the educated, buy such patterns, as they prefer the true to the meretricious, 
while the false and showy devices which we see on the common cloths please only 
the common people of vulgar taste. I am not sure, however, that many persons, 
whose means are limited, would not buy spots and other simple, but correctly 
treated, patterns, if such were to be got in common qualities of damask ; but when 
the pocket must govern the purchase, it is hard to say that the false is preferred 
to the true, if the true is not procurable with the means at command. 

While I cannot withhold praise from this little spot, it must not be thought 
that I thereby give to it a high place as an art-work. Little is here attempted, and 
that little is done well. But let us analyse this pattern. First, the spots are of 
one tint throughout, if I may thus exjH-ess myself — a tint, shall we say, which is 
the reverse of that of the ground. It is not shaded so that it may appear as a ball 
or globe, and is not graduated in " colour " in any way (were it gi-aduated or 
shaded, feebleness of effect must inevitably accrue), but is a simple, honest spot, 
treated as a surface ornament. Secondly, this spot is geometrically arranged, or, in 
other words, has an orderly arrangement. 

If an attempt is made at rendering a pictorial, or light-and-shade effect, in 
damask, an absurd failure can alone result, for depth of shade is not obtainable in 
the material ; and, besides this, what appears as shade, when the cloth is seen from 
one point of view, appears as light if seen from another point of view. Nothing 
could be more absurd, then, than seeking to produce shaded effects with such means 
as are here at our disposal. But were the fabric capable of rendering such effects, 
it would still be wrong to employ them, as we deal only with the surface, and are 
seeking to enhance the value of, or beautify, a fabric, and not to cover it with 
pictures. In our simple spot we have those elements which may be extended into 
the richest and most artistic damask patterns. We have order — as indicated by the 
geometrical plan of the pattern — and an honest and simple expression, or appli- 
cation, of the capabilities of the material. 

All table-covers should certainly have a border. Any object which is to be 
used as a whole looks luisatisfactory if it appears as though it were part of a whole. 
If a cloth is without border it is impossible to avoid the impression that it is a part 
of a larger cloth, and in every respect the general effect is decidedly unsatisfactory. 

It is perhaps well that we notice one peculiarity of a table-cover before we 
dismiss the consideration of such fabrics, which is this, that while the central 
portion is seen flat, the border portion is viewed in folds ; and here we come to one 
of the great peculiarities of most di-aperies, that of their being viewed not as flat 



siu'faces, Imt in waves or folds. One ])oi-tion of a table-cloth is, however, seen flat, 
but this is almost an exception in the case of drajieries. Another exception to this 

Fig. 85. 

Fig, 87. 

Fig. 86. 

Fig. 83. 

Fig. 89. 

Fig. 90. 

rule of hanging's appearing in folds, and that of a very complete character, occurs in 
silk damasks which are used as a rich lining to the walls of palaces and some 
mansions ; but of table-cloths we will speak for the present. 

The central part of a table-cloth, that jxirtion which is always to be viewed as 



a flat surface, may be enriched with any diaper pattern that is simply treated, and 
this diaper pattern may l>e full of design, provided the parts are not too large or too 
small. It may also be formed of gracefully curved parts, or of straight lines or 
circles, or of any combination of these elements; but, preferably, not wholly of 
straight lines. 

Were it not for the fact that much of this central portion of the cloth is to be 
covered by articles of the dinner-table, it might well be furnished with a central 
ornament, repeating only in 
quai-ters ; but as such an orna- 
ment, in oi-der that it be satis- 
fj-ing, requires to be seen as a 
whole, it is not desirable that 
such be here employed. A diaper 
pattern that repeats many times 
in the centre is preferable, as the 
pattern can then be seen in a 
satisfactory manner. 

The border of a table-cloth, 
like all fabrics that are to be 
seen in folds, requires special 
treatment, for what looks well 
when seen as a flat surface may 
not look well when seen on a 
waved surface. Tender and 
graceful curves are lost when 
viewed upon folds, for they here 
appear as mere wormy lines. 
On the contrary, right lines, 

whether horizontal or diagonal, and circles, all look well when seen upon wavec 
grounds. These lines become, owing to the folds of the fabric, curves of a subtle 
character. The manner in which lines become influenced by falling on a curved 
surface can be readily illustrated by forming semicircles of paper, and folding them 
into cones, after having drawn upon them a series of circles (Fig. 85) or straight lines 
(Fig. 86). If these cones (Figs. 87 and 88) are now ^^ewed from above, or in such 
a manner that the eye rests over the apices, it will be seen that the circles have now 
become richly varied curves, each having somewhat the foi-m of a blunt heart or 
cardioid (Fig. 8'J), and that the straight lines become horse-shoe-shaped (Fig. 90). 
These illustrations will be sufficient to show that what is plain when seen upon a flat 
surface maybe delicate and satisfying if seen upon a curved surface; and wiW also 
lead us to understand that what may be delicate and refined "irhen seen upon a flat 



surface may become feeble and unsatisfactory if falling upon a waved "ruund. I 

have said that stripes or straig-ht lines, if crun.viiff a folded fabric, are satisfactory. 

This is so in almost all cases, the only exception being in ladies' dresses. Here l!nes 

crossing the fabric are not satisfactory, as they become rings around the body, which 

api^ear to divide it into 
hoop-like strata. The 
patterns of dresses may 
consist of narrow, ver- 
tical stripes, as these 
are collected together 
at the waist of the 
figure, and fall into 
graceful curves with 
any motion of the 
body, Ijut the veiy op- 
posite is the case with 
window-hangings. All 
vertical stripes are 
here highly offensive, 
while horizontal stripes 
are thoroughly satis- 

A consideration of 
the window-hanging 
materials made in 
Spain, Algeria, and on 
the Morocco coast, will 
show us the beauty of 
horizontal stripes; and 
in some of the little 
Algerian warehouses, 
such as we have in 

Regent Street, London, and in the Rue de Rivoli in Paris, we see some of these 

fabrics of a most interesting character. 

To state in a concise form the laws which should govern the application of 

ornament to certain fabrics which are to be seen in folds, I should say — 
1st. Great simplicity of pattern is necessary. 
2nd. Circles, straight lines crossing the fabric, and diagonal lines are all correct 

in such a case, and are improved by the foldsj which form them into subtle and 

beautiful curves (Fig. 91). 

Fig. 92. 



3 I'd. If curves are tender and graceful, they become commonplace on a waved 
or folded ground. 

4th. The size of the pattern should be considered in relation to the size of the 
folds of the material. 

Fig. 93. 

In Germany a kind of ornament is applied to rich stiff fabrics which is almost 
peculiar to the country. This ornament is rich, bold, hard or stiff in its lines, and 
in every way adapted for the decoration of a costly fabric which falls in large folds, 
the folds changing the hard and stiff lines into graceful curves. This should also be 
noted respecting these curious yet beautiful patterns, that they are always simple in 



plaii; however rich in detail, and are invariably founded on a geometrical basis. 
" German Gothic " is a name by which such ornament may be distinguished (Hat 
Gothic ornament has alwa}s ])een quite distinct from the stone and metal ornaments 
of Gothic buildings, which have solid and not merely superficial form), see Fig-s. 92 
and 9:}. This parti- 

cular class of ornament 
forms the background 
to many old pictures, 
a most interesting col- 
lection of which exists 
in the museum of 
Cologne, and is cer- 
tainly worthy of the 
most careful study. 

As to flat silk 
wall -damasks, which 
are used in some of 
the ujjper-class houses 
as wall-paj)ers are used 
in the middle-class 
houses, all that need 
be said is that they 
should be treated as 
wall decoi'ations, and 
not as fabrics which 
are to be seen folded. 
Were I asked whether 
I approve of these 
damasks as wall cover- 
ings, I should say, 
"Certainly not." A 

Fig. 94. 

wall is better treated as a wall, and not so covered with drapery as to leave space 
for vermin between the wall and its enrichment. There is also the further objection 
that the lines where the fabric is joined are visible, and these are most certainly 

Besides the illustrations of German ornament just given, we figure also a 
specimen of Indian embroidery on cotton (Pig. 94). I cannot too strongly recom- 
mend the designer of patterns for woven goods to study the native fabrics of India, 
exliibited at the Indian Museum, Whitehall. 

Besides the collection liere brought together, there is also in most of our 



manufacturing' towns a large series of specimens of these cloths deposited with the 
Chamber of Commerce, and these can be consulted by all respectable members of the 

Fig. 1)5. 

Fig. 96. 

community. Speaking- of these Indian fabrics, ^Ir. Redgrave says, in his Report on 
Design prepared for the Commissioners of the International Exhiljition of 1851 : — 
'' These are almost wholly designed on the principles here presumed to be just ones 


— the ornament is always flat, and without shadow; natural flowers are never used 
imitativcly or perspeetively, but are conventionalised by beiny disi)laycd fiat and 
accordino' to a symmetrical arrangement ; and all other objects, even animals and 
birds, when used as ornament, are reduced to their simplest flat form. When colour 
is added, it is usually rendered by the simplest local hue, often bordered with a 
darker shade of the colour, to give it a clearer expression ; but the shades of the 
flowers are rarely introduced. The cloth of gold figured in the loom (Fig. 95), and 
part of an Indian scarf (Fig. 96), illustrate fully these remarks. The ornament is 
geometrically and symmetrically arranged, flat, in simple tints, and bordered, as 
above described, with darker shades of the local colour. The principle of colour 
adopted is a balance of the complementaries red and green, in both cases with white 
introduced to gi-\-e points of expression, and to lead the eye to the symmetrical 
arrangement of the ornament. In Fig. 95 purjole is introduced to harmonise with 
the gold ground, a harmony very frequently used in the rich tissues of India. In 
Fig. 96 variety has Ijeen obtained by introducing two reds, giving an interchange of 
a lighter tint in every other flov/er in the border. The borders of these scarves are 
beautifully illustrative of the simple and graceful flowing lines which characterise 
Indian ornament; and in Fig. 96 we can observe the difference between the Eastern 
and the mediaeval patterns — while the same principles are acknowledged in both, the 
latter are often stiffer and more angular than the graceful sprigs of this border. 
Both these works show how much beauty may be obtained by simple means, when 
regulated by just principles, and how perfectly unnecessary are the multiplied tints 
by which modern designers think to give value to their works, but which increase 
the difficulties of production out of all proportion to any effect resulting from them 
— nay, often even to the absolute disadvantage of the fabric. If we look at the 
details of the Indian patterns, we shall be surprised at their extreme simplicity, and 
be led to wonder at their rich and satisfactory effect ; it will soon be evident, 
however, that their beauty results entirely from adherence to the principles above 
described. The parts themselves are often poor, ill-drawn, and common-place; 
yet, from the knowledge of the designer, due attention to the just ornamentation 
of the fabric, and the refined delicacy evident in the selection of quantify/ and the 
choice of tints, both for the ground, where gold is not used as a ground, and for 
the ornamental forms, the fabrics, individually and as a whole, are a lesson to our 
designers and manufacturers, given by those from whom we least expected it." 

Much that Mr. Redgrave here says is worthy of careful consideration, and I can 
do no more than recommend the student to study these beautiful Indian fabrics, and 
consider them in conjunction with the remarks which we have made respecting them 
and fabrics in general. 


Division I. 

Ix this chapter I have to commence our consideration of pottery, and of hallow 
vessels especially ; and this I do with considerable pleasure, as works in pottery 
enjoy a longer existence, though through the character of the material of which 
they are made tbey are more fragile, than those formed of almost any other 
substance. Many works of Greek pottery are known to us, and not a few such 
works by the ancient Egj-ptians, and these are preserved not as fragments merely, 
but as works in their entirety, and with the same beauty that they possessed when 
first they left the hands of the workman. 

Clay is a most desirable material -n-ith which to form works of utility and of 
beauty, and this for many reasons. First, it is so inexpensive as to be almost valueless; 
secondly, it is easily formed into vessels of almost any required shape ; thirdly, 
it is capable of being " worked " into shapes of great beauty by a momentary 
exercise of skill ; fouiihly, clay is naturally of many beautiful colours ; fifthly, it is 
capable of receiving by application to its surface any amount of colour, and of 
preserving such colours as are applied to it in an unimpaired state for ages ; and 
sixthly, it is susceptible of the highest art-finish, or the bold sketchy touch of the 
modeller's hand. I say that clay is a very desirable material for formation into 
vessels of various kinds, because of its inexpensive character. This quality of 
cheapness gives to the material an advantage over many other substances of a much 
more costly character, such as should not be overlooked, for the long existence which 
so many works of earthenware have had is mainly due to the worthlessness of the 
material of which thej- are composed. In my first chapter I gave an extract from the 
writings of Professor George Wilson, showing that gold and silver, while beautiful in 
themselves, and worthy to be fashioned into exquisite devices, are yet too tempting to 
the thief, and to all who are pressed for means, to remain long in the form of art-works. 
Families who have been reduced in circumstances, and have thereby been constrained 
to part with their old plat-e, have melted it, so as to hide their shame. To illustrate 
this, let me quote from the " Handbook of the Arts of the Middle Ages and 
Renaissance, as applied to the Decoration of Furniture, Arms, Jewels, etc., 
translated from the French of M. Jules Lalsarte, 1856." After giving the names 
of many workers in the precious metals, the author says : — " We may form some 
idea of what artists these Italian goldsmiths were of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and 
sixteenth centuries, and what admiraljle werks they must have produced. But, 


alas ! these noble works have almost all perished ; their artistic worth proving no 
safeguard against cupidity or necessity, the fear of pilhige, or the love of change. 
But a very few names even of those skilled artists have descended to us, and in 
making known those preserved to us in the writings of Vasari, Benvenuto, Cellini, 
and others, we can rarely point out any of their works as bemg still in existence. 

" Cellini tells us that while Pope Clement VII. was besieged in the castle of St. 
Angelo, he received orders to unset all the precious stones that were upon the tiaras, 
the sacred vessels, and the jewels of the sovereign pontiff ; and to melt down the 
gold, of which he obtained 2(10 pounds. How many artistic treasures must have 
perished in the crucible of Cellini." We now see clearly that while clay is a much 
more fragile material than either silver or gold, its very worthlessness, despite its 
fragility, gives to it length of years. 

We have said that clay is easily formed into vessels of almost any required 
shape. This is so within c:'rtain limits. Throughout these chapters I have lost no 
opportunity of insisting upon the importance of working every material in a befitting 
manner, and in the most simple and easy way in which the material can be wrought. 
Almost every material can be simply " worked " in some way, or while in some 
particular condition. 

Glass has a molten state in which it can be " blown " into the most beautiful 
of shapes, and this process of blowing is the work of but a few seconds. Glass haa 
also a solid condition, yet as it can be formed into works of great beauty by the 
exercise of momentary skill, it would be extremely foolish to take a mass of the solid 
glass, and by laborious grinding form it into a bottle or a bowl. It fortunately 
happens that if a material is worked in its most simple and befitting manner, the 
results obtained are more beautiful and satisfying than those which are arrived at by 
any roundabout method of production. Glass should be formed into hollow vessels 
only when in its plastic condition, for it cannot be shaped into the form of such 
vessels as we require when in its solid state without the expenditure of much 
unnecessary, therefore wasteful, labour. But if a mass of crystal or marble is 
required to assume the form of a bowl or font, then the laborious process of grinding 
must be resorted to, for these substances have no plastic state. 

The potter's wheel has been known from the earliest historic time, and this has 
at all times been the instrument with which the best earthen vessels have been 
formed. A mass of clay of suitable size is placed on a horizontal disc of wood, to 
which a rotary motion is imparted. The operator presses his thumbs into the centre 
of the clay, and then, by causing his fingers to approach his thumbs, manipulates the 
clay into a cup, a bowl, a vase, an earthen bottle, or whatever form he may please ; 
and if skilful, the operator can form objects of marvellous beauty with a rapidity 
that astonishes all who see for the first time his mode of working. 

If potters would but content themselves, in order to the jjroduction of such 


articles as we require in common life, with the " potter's wheel," we should be 
almost sure of a certain amount of beauty in domestic earthenware, but such is not 
the case. They make fancy moulds of plaster of Paris and of wire g-aiize, and roll 
out clay as the pastrycook does dough, and manipulate it as sc much pie-crust, 
instead of apphnng to it simple skill. Neither a bowl nor a plate need have a 
scalloped edge, indeed they are much better witliout it ; and if unnecessary, and even 
undesirable, absurdities were avoided, and a simple and natural method of working 
each material alone employed, a great improvement in art would speedily take 

It is strange but true, that the worker in one material seems rarely to be 
satisfied with making his works look as well and as consistent as possible ; he desires 
rather to form poor imitations of something else. We have all seen earthen jugs 
made in imitation of wicker-work, although to do so is obviously foolish, as no 
wicker vessel could hold water, and the thing imitated is much less beautiful than a 
thousand forms which clay is capable of assuming. Men's heads without brains are, or 
were at least, favourite jugs. Well, that there are many models for this idea in Nature, 
I doubt not ; yet why we should copy them by making a jug in the form of a hollow 
head, I know not. I have in my possession a milk-jug, such as is common in the 
district of Swansea in South Wales, in the likeness of a cow. The tail is twisted 
into a handle ; by a hole in the back the milk is admitted, and through the mouth 
it is ejected. A more wretched and coarse idea it is scarcely possible to conceive of, 
yet the vulgar admire this jug. Lot us work the material in a simple and befitting 
manner, and satisfactory results are almost sure to accrue. 

I have said that clay, as such, has many beautiful colours. Naturally clay is 
black, grey-white, red, brown, and yellow, and it is capable of assuming many 
desirable tints by the agency of chemical means. We do not use coloured clays as 
we should do. We want so much white — everji:hing to look so clean. All 
ornamental wave, at least, should be artistic, and the art-effect should supersede tliat 
cold whiteness which the Dutch and the English mistake for cleanliness. A clay of 
good natural colour is not a thing to be hidden, or ashamed of. 

Clay is capable, when glazed, of receiving any amount of colour, and of 
preserving these colours in their beauty for almost any length of time. These 
qualities are invaluable to the ornamentist. Colour is not always at his disposal. 
The goldsmith has diflSculty in getting it, but to the potter it is very accessible. 
Colour is capable of giving to objects a charm which they could not possibly have 
u-ithout it. Let us use the power thus placed at our disposal rightly and well, and 
then the enduring character of the colour-harmonies which we produce may 
gladden posterity in ages yet to come. 

Clay is susceptible of the highest art-finish, or of a bold sketchy treatment. 
Finish is very desirable in some cases. The cup which my lady uses in her boudoir 



should be delicate and fine, for what is worthy to approach the sacred lips of the 
occupant of a fair apartment but such a work as is tender and refined? 

As a rule, however, we over-estimate the value of finish, and mider-value bold 
art-effects. Excessive finish often (but by no means always) destroys art-effect. I 
have before me some specimens of Japanese earthenware, which are formed of a 
coarse dark brown clay, and are to a great extent without that finish which most 
Europeans appear so much to value, yet these are artistic and beaiitiful. In the 
case of cheap goods we spend time in getting smoothness of surface, while the 
Japanese devote it to the production of an art-eifect. We get finish without art, 
they ]irefer art without finish. 

Fi.'. 97. 

Fig. 98. 

Fig. 99. 

Fig. 100. 

We must now devote ourselves to a special consideration of the shapes of earthen 
vessels, and to the manner in which ornament should l)e applied to them. 

In his primitive condition man appears to have used the shells of certain fruits 
as drinking vessels and bottles ; and to this day we find many tribes of unci\'ilised or 
half-civilised men using the same class of vessels. " Monkey-pots " (the hard shells 
of the Leci/t/iis allaria), the coverings of the Brazil nut [Berth olet in excelsn), and 
especially the rinds of the calabash and many species of gourd (Figs. 97 and 9S), have 
been used in this way.* The first efforts made at the production of earthen vessels 
were mere attempts at copying in clay the forms of the fruit-shells which were in 
use as drinking vessels. After a power of forming earthen vessels, having a certain 
amount of perfection of manufacture, was gained, we still find the origin of the 
potter's art manifested by certain works. Thus in China, where the potter's art has 

* All who are interested in this subject are referred to a paper published in the " Transactions 
of the Edinburgh Botanical Society," for 1859, by Professor George Wilson, on the " Fruits of the 


SO kmg been understood, we still find vessels made in the form of the bottle-gourd, 
just as was their custom in the days of their first manufacturing efforts (Fig. 99). 
Before considering the shapes of vessels from a utilitarian point of view, I should 
tell the student that certain shapes are characteristic of diixerent nations and of 
different pericxls of time. 

Tlie Greek shapes, as we may call them — that is, the forms of those vessels 
which the Greeks produced — are of a particular class, and the vessels produced by 
the Egyptians are of a different type ; while those of the Chinese, Indians, Japanese, 
and Mexicans again differ from each other, and from those of both the Greeks and 
the Egyptians. For grace of form the vessels of the old Greeks stand pre-eminent 
(Figs. 101 and 102) ; for simple dignified severity, those of the Egyptians (Fig. 
100) ; for quaintness, those of the Mexicans (Fig. 103) ; for a combination of grace 
with dignity, those of the Chinese (Figs. lO-l and 105) ; and for a combination of 
beauty with quaintness, those of the Japanese (Fig. lOG) ; while in many respects 
the Indian shapes (Figs. 107 and 108) resemble those of the Japanese. Fig. 109 
is a water vessel from Ha, and Figs. 110 and 111 are jugs from Morocco. 

I cannot enter into any details respecting the characteristic forms of vessels 
produced by these various nations, but must content myself by gi\-ing a few illustra- 
tions of the various sliapes, and leaving the matter with the learner for study. The 
British Museum, the South Kensington Museum, and the Indian Museum will aid 
him in his researches. 

It has be^'U said that the character of a people can be told by their water-vessels. 
As the consideration of this statement will lead us to see how perfectly a domestic 
utensil may answer the end which it should serve, I will extract from my "Art of 
Decorative Design " a few remarks on this subject. 

This statement can well " be illustrated by the Egyptian and Greek water- 
vessels, the former of which has sides tapering to the top and slanting inwards, a 
small orifice, and a rounded base, and the mouth of the vessel bridged by an arched 
handle, the whole being constructed of bronze (Fig. 112) ; the latter consists of an 
egg-shaped body (the broad end being above) resting upon a secure foot, which is 
surmounted by a large, divergent, fimnel-shaped member (Fig. 113). It has no 
handle over the orifice, but has one at either side. 

" Not only do these vessels differ in form, but associated circumstances differ 
also ; and it is this variation in circumstances which brought about the difference in 
form of the two water- vessels. 

" The peculiarities of the Egj^jtian water-vessel are its formation of bronze, the 
roundness of its base, which renders it unfitted for standing, the narrow^iess of its 
mouth, and the handle arching the orifice ; and of the Greek, its being wrought in 
clay, the secure base, the wide mouth, the contraction in the centre, and the handle 
at either side. We shoidd judge from these vessels that the Egyptians drew water 


Fig. 104. 

Fig. 1U5. 

Fig. 101. 

Fig. 110. 

Fig. 103. 

Fig. 107. 

Fig. 108. 

from a river, or some position which required that the vessel he attached to a cord 
and cast into the source of supply, for the roundness of the base at once points to 
this, it being a provision for enabling the vessel to fill by turning upon its side (were 
its base flat it would float on the water) ; it is also formed out of metal so as to facilitate 



this end. Tne arched handle not only points to the attachment of the vessel to a 
string in order that it be cast into the water, but also to the carrj^ing the vessel 
pendent from the hand in the manner that pails are at present carried, and the 
contracted mouth restrains the splashing over of the water : and what this simple 
water-vessel points to we find tu have been the case, for the Eg\-ptians derived water 

Fig. 111. 

Fig. 112. 

Fig. 113. 

from the Nile in the very manner that the vessel would indicate; but with the Greeks 
circumstances were different, and the shape of the vessel varies accordingly. The base 
is here flat, in order that the vessel may stand ; the mouth is large, in order to collect 
the water which fell from above, — from the dripping-rocks and water-spouts. This 
being the manner in which water was gathered, a vessel formed of heavy metal was 
unnec3ssary; the contraction prevented the water from splashing over when carried, 
and up to this point the vessel was hllcd, and no higher: and the liandles at the side 


show tliat it was carried on the head. But, in conjunction with this mode of 
carrying, there is another consideration of interest, which is, the centre of gravity- 
is high. If we attempt to balance a stick, having one enlarged end, on the finger, 
it will be found necessary that the weight be at the top; and in balancing anything, 
it will be found that the object, in order that it ride steadily, have its point of 
greatest weight considerably elevated above its base. In the Greek water-vessel, 
which was carried balanced on the head, we find this condition fully complied with, 
the centre of gravity occupying a high position, while in the Egyptian vessel the 
centre of gravity was low ; but where the vessel is to be carried underhand, it is as 
great an advan*^age to have the centre of gravity low as it is in the case of a coach, 
where security is thus gained just as the centre of gravity is lowered. The Greek 
water-vessel, then, consists of a cavity for holding water, a funnel to collect and 
guide the water, a base for the vessel to rest upon, and handles to enable it to be 
raised to the head, and the centre of gravity is high in order that it be readily 
balanced ; and we should judge from this vessel that the Greeks procured water from 
dripping-rocks and water-spouts, and this is exactly what did occur. These are the 
direct teachings of the Egyptian and Greek water-vessels ; yet how many circum- 
stances and incidents of common life can be conceived as associated with these 
different forms of vessel. There is the gossip round the well, and the lingering by 
the river-side where the image of the date-palm is mirrored by the glassy surface of 
the waters. The effect of the noise of the splashing water upon the mind in the one 
case, combined with the comparatively loud and energetic sjieaking which would be 
necessary in order that the voice be not drowned by the noise, and of the calm 
tranquillity of the river-bank in the other, where tlie limpid water is ever flowing on 
in silent majesty, must be considerable. Then we have the potter's art essential to 
the production of the vessel in the one case, and the metal-worker's in the other — 
the digging of clay, the mining of metal, the kilns and smelting furnaces. We will 
not continue this portion of the subject further, and have brought forward this 
illustration in order to show how well-considered objects reveal to us the habits and 
customs of the peoples and nations in which they originated." 

It will now be apparent that even a common object may result from such careful 
consideration that its form vfiW at once suggest its use ; but the object will only 
reveal the purpose for which it was created with definiteness of expression when it 
perfectly answers the end proposed by its formation. The advice which I must give 
to every designer is to study carefully exactly what is required, before he proceeds to 
form his ideas of what the object proposed to be created should be like, and then to 
diligently strive to arrange such a form for it as shall cause it to be perfectly suited 
to the want which it is intended to meet. 

More will be said upon the subject of form when speaking of glass vessels and 
of silversmiths' work ; and when considering these subjects we shall also give the law 



which governs the appheatiou of handles and spouts to vessels; and it is of the 
utmost importance that they be correctly placed in order that the vessel may be used 

Fig. 114. 

Fig. 116. 

Fig. 115. 

Fig. 117. 

with convenience (see page 14^0). A word must now be said respecting the decoration 
of earthen vessels, but on this subject o ir remarks must be brief. 

The object to which the decoration is applied must deternune the natui'e of the 



ornament to be employed. In the case of a vessel which is to be in part hidden 
when in use, great simplicity of treatment should be adojjted, and the ornament may 
wth advantag-e consist of repeated parts. In the case of a plate, little or no 
ornament should be placed in the centre ; but if there is a central ornament it should 
be a small, regular, radiating figure, consisting of like parts (Figs. 1 ll' and 115). The 
border shoidd also consist of simjjle members re])eated, for it will then look well if 
portions are covered ; and these remarks will ajiply equally to all kinds of plates, 
whether intended for usi' at dinner or dessert. 

No plate should have a landscape painted upon it, nor a figure, nor a group of 
flowers. Whatever has a right and wrong NAay upwards is inajspropriate in such a 
position, as whatever ornament a plate bears should be in all positions as fully right 
way upwards to the beholder as it can be. Besides, landscapes, groups of flowers, 

and figures are spoiled if 
in part hidden, provided 
they are satisfactory when 
the whole is seen. 

Plates may have a 
white ground, for it is de- 
sirable that those articles 
on which food is pre- 
sented should manii'est 
the utmost cleanliness, 
yet to a cream tint there can be no ol)jection. I should, however, prefer white 
plates, with a rather deep Idue, Indian red, maroon, or brown pattern upon them, 
and a pale bufl:' table-cloth for them to rest upon. 

In the case of cups and saucers the treatment shoidd be similar to that of the 
jilate. The saucer may have a simple border ornament, consisting of parts repeated, 
and little or no ornament in the centi-al portion on which the cup rests. The cup 
may have an external l)order ornament, and a doubli' narrow line of colour around 
the upper portion of the interior, but no other ornament is here required. 

Whatever ornament is placed around a cup, or vase, or any tall object must be 
cuch as will not suffer by perspective, for there is scarcely any portion of the 
ornament that can be seen otherwise than foreshortened (Figs. 103 and 111). Let 
simpUcity be the ruling principle in the decoration of all rounded objects, and ever 
remember that a line which is straight on a flat surface becomes a curve on a 
I'ound surface (see page 110). 

I have given what is a correct decoration for a plate and cup and saucer, but 
there are other methods of treatment than those just named. The Japanese are veiy 
fond cif placing little circular groups of flowers on plates, saucers, and bowls (Figs. 116 
and 117). The Greeks had various methods of enriching their tazzas and vases with 

Fig. 1x6. 

GLASS. 127 

ornament, and the Egj-ptians were partial to the plan of rendering a cup as a lotus- 
flower (Fig. 10(1). But when they formed a cup thus, they were careful to draw 
the flower conventionally and ornamentally, and never produced an imitative work 
(see page 24). The Chinese treat the flower of the sacred bean in the same way 
(Fig. 118). 

What I have said has been addressed to the student. The remarks, however, 
made respecting the form chosen being that which is most suitable to the end 
proposed, and the conditions to which I shall make reference as governing the 
application of handle and spout to any object, are binding upon all who would 
produce satisfactory works; but to the genius who has power to produce beautiful 
and vigorous ornament, and whose taste has, by years of study and cultivation, 
become refined and judicious, I can give no rules, his own taste being his best guide. 

Division II. 

When speaking of earthenware, I insisted upon the desirability of using every 
material in the easiest and most natural manner, and I illustrated my meaning by 
sapng that glass has a molten condition as well as a sohd state, and that while in 
the molten condition it can be " blo^Ti " into forms of exquisite beauty. Glass- 
blo'wing is an operation of skill, and an operation in which natural laws come to our 
aid, and I cannot too strongly repeat my statement that everj' material should be 
" worked " in the most simple and befitting manner ; and I think that our 
consideration of the formation of glass vessels will render the roiisonablencss of my 
demand apparent. 

Let a portion of molten glass be gathered upon the end of a metal pipe, and 
blown into a bubble while the pipe drops vertically from the mouth of the operator, 
and a flask is formed such as is used for the conveyance of olive oil (Fig. 119) ; and 
what vessel could be more beautiful than such a flask? Its grace of form is obvious; 
the delicate curvature of its sides, the gentle swelling of the bulb, and the exquisitely 
rounded base, all manifest beauty. 

Here we get a vessel formed for us almost wholly by Nature. It is the 
attraction of gravitation which converts what would be a mere bubble, or hollow 
sphere of glass, into a gracefully elongated and delicately-shaped flask. This may 
be taken as a principle, that whenever a material is capable of being " worked " in a 
manner which will so secure the operation of natural laws as to modify the shapes 
of the objects into which it is formed^ it is very desirable that we avail ourselves of 
such a means of formation, for the ojjerution of gravitation and similar forces upon 
plastic matter is calculated to give beauty of form. 

When clay is worked upon the potter's wheel, it is shaped by the operator's 
skill, and is sufficiently stifE to retain the shape given to it to a very considerable 
extent ; yet the operation of gravitation upon it, so long as it has any plasticity 



whatever, is calculated to secure delicacy of iorm. This nile should ever he 
remembered hy the art-student — that a curve is beautiful just as its origin is 
difficult to detect (see Chap. I., page i'i). In the formation of vases, bottles, etc., 
knowledge of this law is very important, and the operation of gravity upon hollow 
plastic vessels is calculated to give to their curves subtlety (intricate beauty) of 
character. Having arranged that the material shall be worked in the manner most 
befitting its nature, we must next consider what purpose the object to be formed is 
intended to serve. 

Take a common hock-bottle (Fig. 120) and consider it. "What is wanted is a 

vessel such as will stand, in which wine can be stored. 
It must have a strong neck, so that a cork may be 
driven in without splitting it, and must be formed 
of a material that is not absorbent. Glass, as a 
material, admirably answers the want, and this bottle 
is capable of storing wine ; it wll stand, and has a 
rim arountl the neck such as gives to it strength. 

nl \ But, besides serving the requirements named, it is 

/ \ both easily formed and is beautiful. The designer 

must be a utilitarian, but he must be an artist also. 
We must have useful vessels, but the objects vsath 
which we are to surroimd ourselves must likemse be 
beautiful ; and unless they are beautiful, our delicacy 
of feeling and power to appreciate Nature, wliich is 
full of beauties, will be impaired. A hock-bottle is a 
mere elongated bubble, with the bottom portion pressed 
in so that it may stand, and the neck thickened by a 
rim of glass being placed around it. 

Here we have a bottle shaped by natural agency; 
it is formed of heavy glass, and the bubble was thick at its lower j)art, hence its 
elongated form; but if length is required in any bubble, and the glass is even 
light, it can always be given by swinging the bubble round from the centre, so that 
centrifugal force may be brought into play in the direction of its length ; or if it has 
to be widened, this can as easily be done by giving to it a rotatory motion, whereby 
the centrifugal force is caused to act from the axis of the vessel outwards, and not 
from the apex to the base, as in the former instance. In either case a certain 
amount of beauty would appear in the shape produced, for Nature here works for 
us. (Compare (he short, dumpy, yet beautiful bottle, in which we receive curacao, 
with the hock-bottle, when the two natm-al modes of forming bottles will bo 
illustrated.) Our wine-bottles are moulded, hence their ugliness. We work without 
Natiu'e's assistance, and we reap ugliness as the reward. 

Fig. 119. 

Fig. 1-20. 



Let us now consider what a decanter shcmld he. In many respects, the wants 
which a decanter is intended to meet are similar to those which are met hy the 
bottle, as just enumerated, but here is a great difference — a bottle is only in/ended 
to be filled once, whereas a decanter will have to be filled many times ; and a 
bottle is made so that it can travel, while a decanter is not meant to be the 
subject of long journeys. It is true that a bottle may be refilled many times, but 
it is not intended that it should, as the fact that w^e use a fimnel when we wish to 
fill it clearly shows, and without a funnel the vessel is not complete. All objects 
which are meant to be refilled many times shoidd have a funnel-shaped mouth (see 

Fig. lil. 

Fig. 123 

Fig. 122. 

my remarks on the Greek water-vessel, page 121), but if a bottle had a distended 
orifice it would not be well adapted for transport. A decanter should have capacity 
for containing liquid ; it should stand securely, and have a double funnel — a funnel 
to collect the fluid and conduct it into the bottle, and a funnel to collect it and 
conduct it out of the bottle. It must also be convenient to use and hold, and the 
upper fimnel should be of such a character that it will guide the liquid in a proper 
direction when poured from the decanter. 

If we take a flask and flatten its base, and extend the upper portion of the neck 
slightly into the form of a fimnel, we have all that is i-equired of a decanter, with 
the exception of a permanent cork, which is a stopper (Fig. 121). 

But as most decanters are intended to hold wine, the brilliancy of which is not 




readily apparent when that portion of the vessel which contains the liquid rests 
immediately upon the table, it is desirable to give to the vessel a foot, or, in other 
words, raise the body of the decanter so that light may surround it as fully as 
possible (Figs. 122 and 128). 

In Pigs. 124 to 135 I give a number of shapes of decanters and jugs, such as 
may be seen in our best shop- windows, and such as I consider desirable forms for such 
vessels; and in considering the shape of such vessels, the character of the upper 
portion of the neck (the lip) must be regarded, as well as that of the body and base. 
Notice also whether the centre of gravity is high or low, and the position and 

Fie-. 130. 

Fig. 132. Fig. 133 

Fig. 134. 

character of the handle; but respecting the application of handles to vessels I will 
speak when considering silversmiths' work (see page 14U). 

Besides decanters and bottles, glass is formed into tumblers, wine-glasses, 
flower-holders, and many other things; but the i^rincij^les which we have already 
laid down will apply equally to all, for if the objects formed result from the easiest 
mode of working the material, and are such as perfectly answer the end proposed by 
their formation, and are beautiful, nothing more can be expected of them. 

Many objects of fancy shape have been produced as mere feats of glass-blowing, 
and with some of these efforts I sjinpathise. Wherever the work produced is truly 
adapted to use, or where an artistic effect is achieved, the glass-blower has my warm 
sympathy; but if the effort is made at the production of novelty merely, the result 
gained is sure to be unsatisfactory. JNIucli of the Venetian glass will illustrate these 
last remai'ks. 



Fig. lo() is a very excellent and jjieturesque spirit-bottle; it is easy to hold, 
and quaint in appearance.* Figs. 137, 13!S, and 139 are Venetian glass vessels, 
wrought entirely at the furnace-mouth, and neither cut nor engraved — they are 
artistic, and of interesting appearance ; while Fig. 140 is a work of Roman glass, in 
which the upj^er distension is useful if the liquid contains a sediment \\'hich it is not 
desirable to pour out with the liquid. 

Tliere is one thing pertaining to table-glass that we do not now sufficiently 

Fig. 137. 

Fig. 136. 

Fig, 139. 

Fig. 140. 

consider, which is its capacity for colour. Our one idea in the formation of glass 
vessels is the imitation of crystal, unless we happen to produce a vessel of the 
strongest tint. With the exceptitm of hock-glasses, which are general!}^ either ruby- 
coloiu-, dark green, or intense yellow-green, «e rarely emj)loy tinted glass on our 
tables. These three colours, which we usually employ in hock-glasses, are all too 
strong in tint for ordinary purposes, and they are coarse and vulgar. It is curious 
that we should confine ourselves to these colours when glass is capable of assuming 
the most delicate of shades, of appearing as a soft, subtle, golden hue of the most 
beautiful light tertiary green, lilac, and blue, and, indeed, of almost any colour. 

* In order that the nature of this bottle be better understood, I give a section of it at a as seen 
when cut through the central pai-t. 


'00 McCAUL ST 



AVhy, then, shoukl we employ only two or three colours, and those of tlie most crude 
character? It' the Roman and Greek g'lass of the British ^Museum be Inspected, it 
will be seen that the Romans employed various soft and delicate tints, and why we 
should not do so I cannot see. For many reasons the colours of our hock-glasses 
are highly objectionable, but especially for two. First, as already stated, the colour 
is so strong that they appear as mere dark spots on the cloth, and altogether i'ail in 
imparting to the table a pleasant colour-effect ; and, secondly, they utterly destroy 
the beauty of appearance which the wine would otherwise present. 

No glass which is to contain a li(jui(l of i)leasant colour should be so strong in 

Fig. 142. 

tint as to mar the beauty of the contained iluid, and especially is this true when tlie 
colour of the glass is of an opposite character to that of the liquid : thus a red liquid 
placed in a strongly-coloured green glass becomes highly offensive in appearance, 
and yet we often see claret served in green hock-glasses. A dinner-table requires 
colom-. Let the cloth be pale buff, or cream-colour, instead of white ; and the glass 
water-vessels of very pale, but refined and various, tints ; and the salt-cellars, if of 
glass, also coloured, in a tender and befitting manner, and a most harmonious effect 
will Ijc produced. The flowers with which the table is adorned wonld then har- 
monise with the other things, and much beauty might be produced. 

Respecting the ornamentation of glass, two methods of treatment are resorted 
to, which are "cutting" and "engraving." Both modes deal with glass as a hard, 
crystal-like substance ; and consist in grinding the surface, and either leaving it 
" dead " or repolishing it. In the case of " cutting" a considerable jwrtion of the 
substance of the glass is generally removed, and the surface is repolished ; but in 



the case of "engraving" little more than the surface is generally acted upon, and the 
engraved jxjrtion remains dead. 

Cuttmg may be employed in bringing about ornamental effects in glass, but it 
is rarely to be commended when so lavishly used as to be the chief means of giving 
form to the \essel ; indeed, cutting should be sparingly and judiciously used. A 
vessel formed of glass should never be wholly shaped by cutting, as though it were a 
work of stime. If the neck of a decanter can be made more convenient by bei»|g 
slightly cut — if it can be so treated that it can be held more securely — then let it be 

Fig. 143. Fig. 144. 

cut ; but in all cases avoid falling into the error of too much cutting which causes 
the work to appear laboured, for any work which presents the appearance of having 
been the result of much labour is as unpleasant to look ujx)n as that work is pleasinjj 
which results from the exercise of momentary skill. There is a great art-principle 
manifested in the expression " Let there be light, and there was light." 

Engraving is also laborious, and while it is capable of jaelding most delicate and 
beautiful effects, it should yet be somewhat sparingly used, for extravagance iu labour 
is never desirable, and there is such a thing as extravagance of be;uity. 



However delicate ornament may be, and however well composed, yet if it covers 
the whole of the walls of an apartment and of the objects which it contains, it fails 
to please. There must be the contrast of plain siu-faces with ornamented — plain for 
the eye to rest upon, ornament for the mind to enjoy. In the enrichment of g-lass 
these remarks fully ai)ply. Let there be plain smfaces as well as ornamented i)arts, 
and the effect will be more satisfjing than if all be covered with ornament. 

All that I said respecting the decoration of damask table-linen will apply equally 
to glass, considering only the different way in which the effect is produced (see 
Chap. "\ I., page 108). Thus w-e have ornament produced only 
by a variation of sm-face. Such simple means of jiroducing 
an art-effect are capable of rendering in a satisfactory manner 
simple treatments only, but simple patterns are capable of 
yielding the highest pleasure, and such patterns can be almost 
perfectly rendered by engraving, as shown in Figs. If 1, 142j 

Somewhat elaborate effects can be rendered in glass by 
very laborious engraving, whereby different depths of cutting 
are attained j but such work is the result of great labour, and 
i"arely produces an effect proportionate to the toil expended 
upon it; and if a bottle so engraved is filled with a coloured 
«'ine, the entire beauty of its engraAiug is destroyed. Fig. 
144 is a di'awing- of a most elaborately engraved bottle, which 
was sho^ni in the Exhibition of 1862. It represents, to a 
great extent, wasted labour. 

It must be borne in mind that any ornament placed on a 
decanter, wine-glass, or timibler, is to be seen almost wholly 
in perspective; and the remarks made respecting the effects of folded or waved 
surfaces on ornament (Chap. VI., page 110), and those made in reference to the 
application of ornament to earthen vases (Chap. VII., page 126), apply equally here. 
It is not my province to enter into the various methods of maniinilating glass, 
nor into all the classes of art-effect which glass is capable of yielding : I can only 
call attention to general principles, and leave the art-student to think for himself 
what should be the treatment of any particular object. There is a sort of crackle 
glass which has come into use during the last few years, and is an imitation of old 
Venetian work ; this is in some respects pleasant in appearance, but it is somewhat 
imcomfortable to handle, and difficult to keep clean ; its use must therefore be 

Fig. 145. 

* Fig. 143 represents a decanter made for the Prince of Wales by Messrs. Pellatt and Co., which 
is in good taste. Pig. lil is a goblet from Austria ; it was shown in the International Exhibition 
of Paris in 1S67. 



Fig. 116. 

limited. The Romans were in the habit of forming glass which was opaque, dark, 
and of many colours. Fig. H3 is an illustration of this kind of glass, the iiattern 
being formed by portions of various coloured glass being imbedded in the substance 
of the vessel. 

In another chapter I shall have a few remarks to make upon stained glass ; 
but as our present remarks pertain to hollow vessels chiefly, and as general principles 
regulate the formation of all such, whether they are formed of eai-thenware, glass, 
or metal, I think it better to proceed to the consideration of silversmiths' ware, and 
thus continue a notice of hollow vessels, than to pass to glass windows, although 
they are formed of the material now under review. What we are specially con- 
sidering at present are vessels of 
eai)acity, or hollow wares. 


Continuing our remarks upon 
hollow vessels, we have now to 
notice silversmiths' work, and here 
we may obsei-ve that while the 
material with which we have now 
to deal differs in character widely 
from that of which those vessels 
already noticed have been formed, 
yet that many principles which 
have been enunciated are equally 
applicable to the objects now 
under consideration. Silver ob- 
jects, like those formed of clay or 
glass, should perfectly serve the 

end for which they have been formed ; also, the fact that ornament applied to rounded 
surfaces should be adapted for being viewed in perspective remains a.s Ijiuding on us 
as before; but herein the works of the silversmith differ from those already dis- 
cs.issed — they are formed of a material of intrinsic value, which is not the case with 
articles of earthenware or slass. Silver and srold beins: materials of considerable 
■worth, it is necessary that the utmost economy be observed in using them, and in 
order to effect this a special mode of construction must be resorted to. If we 
propose to ourselves the formation of a sug-ar-basin of semi-circular shape, of what 
thickness must the metal be in order that it may not bend when lifted? It is 
obvious that the vessel must not yield its shape to ordinarj^ pressure, nor be subject 
to alterations of form wlien in ordinaiy use ; but if it is to be formed throughout of 
metal of such thickness as will secure its retaining its shape, it will be costly and 

Fig. 147. 



heavy, and an amount of metal will be used iu its formation sufficient for the 
manufacture of two or three such articles. 

Instead of forming the vessel throughout of thick metal, we may construct it 
from a thin sheet of silver ; but in order tliat it possess sufficient strength we must 
indent one or more beads in its side (see Fig. 146) ; or we can form an angle by 
having a rim projecting into the basin (Fig. 1-17), or extending from it, and thus 
give strength ; but the two beads are the more desirable, as the one gives strength 
at the top and the other at a lower portion of the \essel. 

Modes of economising material, when we are forming vessels of costly substances, 
are of the utmost importance, and should be carefully thought out. If the designer 
forms works which are expensive, he places them beyond the reach of those who 
might otherwise enjoy them, and if heavy they appear clumsy in the hands of those 
accustomed to delicate and light objects. 

Besides this, works in silver and in gold are always in danger of being destroyed, 
owing to the intrinsic value of these metals ; for if stolen, the theft is promptly 
hidden in the melting-pot. Now if we form the vessels of thin metal, we render the 
money value of the material less, and thus our works are to a smaller degree tempting 
to the avaricious, and their chance of long existence is greater. The precious metals 
are at all times perilous materials for the formation of works of art ; but while we use 
them, let us take care so to employ them as to give to om- works every possible 
opportunity for long existence. If a work is to be so formed that it may exist for 
many years, it becomes of the highest importance that those objects which we create 
be well considered as to their utility, and at the same time be beautiful in form. 
Long existence is an evil in the case of an ugly object, or an ill-considered vessel ; 
that which is not refining in its influence is better blotted out. Let that man who 
will not seek to embody beauty in his works make them heavy with metal, so that 
they may tempt the thief, and thus sooner blot out his works from existence, as they 
tend only to debase and degrade ; but he who loves refinement, and seeks to give 
chasteuess of character to the objects which he creates, may well strive to secure to 
them length of duration. 

There are various modes of working metal. It may be cast, hammered, cut, 
engraved, and manipulated in various ways. 

Little that is satisfactory can result from casting. Casting is a rough means of 
producing a result, and at best achieves the formation of a mass which may be less 
troublesome to cut into shape than a more solid piece of metal ; but casting without 
the application of other means of working metal achieves little of an art nature. 

Some of the fine iron castings of Berlin are wonderfully good in their way, and 
are to an extent artistie ; and certainly they contrast strangely ^vith the cast handles 
and knobs which we often see applied to vegetable-dishes, and similar silver objects 
here in England ; yet even these will not compare with works wrought by the 



liimiiie.' and ih^ cliisel. 
Thin metal haininered 
into form, and touched 
where necessary with 
the chisel, the graver, 
and the chasing-tool, 
is capable of the very 
finest effects which 
can be achieved in 
metal-work. Let the 
reader consider the 
beautiful vessels with 
which Arabian metal- 
work jiresents us : these 
are all formed by the 
hammer and chisel, 
with the assistance of 
the graver and chas- 
ing-tool, and how mar- 
vellously delicate and 
beautiful are the re- 
sults ! We have in 
these vessels beauty 
and dignity of form, 
richness of design, 
great intricacy and 
delicacy of detail, and 
altogether a refinement 
of effect which may 
long be considered 
and repeatedly enjoyed 
(Fig. US). 

Several, I may 
almost say many, of 
these beautiful objects 
are to be found in 
the South Kensington 
Museum, and it should 
be generally known that fac-similes of these lovely works, in the form of electrotype 
copies, have been prepared by Messrs. Elkington and Co., under the sanction of the 


authorities of the Depai-tment of Science and Art, and that these are procurable at 
small cost. For pui-]30ses of study these copies are of almost equal value with the 
originals, and for the adornment of a sideboard they are hardly inferior. I strongly 
advise those who can afford to purchase these beautiful copies to garnish their 
sideboard ? with plate of this description, rather than with the meretricious electro- 
plate which we often see in our shop-mndows. 

Having determined on the best mode of working the material, consider carefully 
the requirements which the work to be produced is intended to meet, and then strive 
to form the object so that it may perfectly answer the end proposed by its creation. 

Let us take a sugar-basin. \Miat form should it have ? Alter much con- 
sideration, I have arrived at the conclusion that the two shapes engraved in Figs. 149 
and 150 are those which best fulfil the requirements of such a vessel, for in them the 
sugar is always collected together, and the dust sugar separates itself from the lumps. 
The handles of a sugar-basin are often so small as to be partially or wholly 
useless. It not unfrequently happens that only one or two fingers can rest on the 
handle, owing to its smallness, while the thumb has to be placed within the orifice 
of the basin when it is desired to move it. This should not be so; if a handle is to 
exist at all, it should be so formed as to be useful, and afford a means of moving the 
object with ease and comfort. 

To form a handle as a mere ornament is an absurdity, for the handle is part of 
the vessel structurally, while the ornamentation is an after and separate consideration. 
In order to its existence a vessel must be constructed, but when formed it need not 
of necessity be ornamented ; ornamentation must ever be regarded as separate from 

Such a sugar-basin as I have suggested would not stand ^\ithout legs : it must 
therefore have them ; but I see no reason why the legs and handles should not be 
combined ; hence I propose three feet so formed as to serve as handles throughout 
their upper parts (Figs. 1-19, 150), they being convenient to hold. 

^lodern European silversmiths have fallen into the error (an error now pre- 
vailing wherever art can be applied to any object) of making their works of a 
pictorial, rather than an ornamental, character — an error which the Arabians, Indians, 
and Japanese never perpetrate, whose works in metal are unsurpassed by any, and 
equalled by indeed few. It is a mistake to cover an entire vase with figures in high 
relief; but wherever anjihing of the kind is attempted, care must be exercised in 
causing the groups to follow the line of the vase, and not to appear as irregular 
projections from it. As to the modes of decorating works in silver and in gold, 
they are many; of ornamentation by repousse work we have already spoken, and 
of chasing and engraving. But besides these there are other methods, and some of 
great interest, for there is damascene work, or inlaying; and applying colour, or 
enamelling ; and niello work ; jewels may also be added. 



Damascene work is of great interest. Metal of one colour is inlnid into metal 
of another colour. India produces, i)erha])s, the rarest examples of this kind of work, 
the Indians being experts at this manufacture ; but the Indian work consists chiefly 
of silver inlaid in iron. This mode of work seems to be capable of producing many 
beautiful effects, as all «ho 
have examined the large inlaid 
hookahs of India will admit. 

Havuig chosen a form for 
a vessel, the next question with 
which we ha\e to deal is, will 
it require a handle and spout ? 
It is curious that while the 
position of a spout and handle 
in relation to a vessel is go- 
verned by a simple natural 

law, we yet rarely find them placed as they should be. This is the more curious, 
as a vessel may become practically of great weight, owing to the handle being 

A pound weight is easily lifted, but when applied to the shorter end of the 
steel-yai-d. it will balance a hundredweight. If this principle is applied to a tea-pot 

Fig. IW. 

Fig. 150. 

wdiich actually weighs but little, it may yet be very heavy to lift. In nineteen cases 
out of twenty, handles are so placed on tea-pots and similar vessels that they are in 
use lifted only by a force capable of raising two or three such vessels, if the principle 
of the steel-yard was not acting against the person who uses the vessel. Take our 
ordinary forms of tea-pot, and see how far the centre of the weight (the centre of 
gravity) is from the handle in a horizontal direction, and you will be able to judge 
of the leverage acting disadvantageously to the ]X'rson who may pour te;) from such 



pots. N(i\v if the part which is grasped is to the right or left of a right line 
passing througli the centre of gravity of any vessel, there is leverage acting to 
the disadvantage of the person desiring to ponr from that vessel, and this leverage 
increases just as the point held is removed fnmi the central line spoken of. 

Fi"". 151 would pour when in the position shown in Fig. 15£, but see how far 
the hand that holds it would he to the right of the centre of gravity («), which distance 
is of '"-reat disadvantage, as it causes the vessel to appear much heavier than it 
actually is, and recpn'res a much greater expenditure of force in order that the tea-pot 
be put to its usj than is necessary were it properly formed. 

Fig. 101. 

Fiff. 155. 

Fig. 153. 

The law governing the application of handle and spnut to vessels is this, and 
the same principle applies whether the vessel be formed of metal, glass, or earthen- 
ware : — Find the centre of gravity of the vessel, wliich can easily be done by letting 
a vertical line drop over it when placed in two different positi(]ns, as m Figs. 153, 
154, and where the two vertical lines intersect, as in a in Fig. 155, is the centre of 
gravity. The position of the handle being iixed on, draw a line through the centre 
of the handle, and continue it througli the centre of gravity of the vessel. The spout 
must now be at right angles to this line. If this lie the ease the vessel will pour 
freely while the handle is just hung upon the thuml) or linger of the person desiring 
to pour from it, as may be seen from Figs. 15t), 157, in which the straight line A, 



passing through the centre of gravity a, is at right angles, as it should bo, with the 
straight line passing through the sjxjut. 

This law, if obeyed, will always enable liquid to be poured from a vessel without 
its appearing heavier than it actually is, but it will be seen that the shape of 
the vessel must be considered so that the spout and handle can bear this relation to 
each other, as in Figs. 156, 157, 158, 159, and ItiU. Some shapes will not admit of 

Fig. 156. 

Fig. 159. 

it, so they must be avoided, as may be seen by examining Figs. 151 and 152, which 
show a tea-pot of faulty shape in this respect. 

A consideration of this law shows that the handles of jugs— those formed of 
silver, of glass, and of earthenware alikj — are usually placed too high; but in 
this respect things are much better than they were a few years back. Now we 
somewhat frequently see a jug with the handle in the right place, while some years 
back we never did. Silver jugs are now the most generally faulty in this respect, 
and such mistakes as the wrong placing of the handle or spout of a vessel result only 
from ignorance, for no man knowing the law would violate it. Fig. 161 shows a 



common form of jug with its handle, but the handle is too high ; the position which 
it should occujiy is shown by the dotted line. A very excellent handle is applied to 
many of the French water-pots, as shown in Fig. 10^. 

It is unnecessary that 
I say more respecting the 
shape and general construc- 
tion of silver and gold ves- 
sels, except to remark that 
if figures or other orna- 
ments are beaten up on 
their surfaces, they must 
not destroy or mar their 
general contom-. 

Iron is not used mth 
us as it should be. Not 
only is the effect produced 
when it is inlaid with 
silver and other metals ex- 
cellent, but by this mode 
of work our art-creations 
are greatly preserved, for 
the iron is valueless, and 
the labour of removing the 
small quantity of precious 
metal inlaid would ba so 
great as to render the gain 
inadequate remuneration 
for the time consumed in 
collecting it. 

M. Christophle, of Paris, 
and also M. Barbedien in 
a lesser degree, have com- 
menced to inlay copper ves- 
sels with silver, and some of 
their works are very beauti- 
ful. The Japanese have from an early time inlaid silver in bronze. This inlaying 
of silver into eojiper is a step in the right direction, and should be encouraged by all 
lovers of art. Tlie Indians not only inlay silver in iron, but also gold in silver and 
in iron ; and the Italians and other peoples have inlaid metals in a similar way ; and 
the firmness and intricacy of some specimens of this inla\'ing are truly mai'vellous. 


By the process of enamelling, colour can be applied to metal, and of all arts 
this art of enamelling produces works which are most lovely ; at least, if the best 
works of enamel do not surpass those produced by any other manufacture, they are 
equal in beauty to the works of the highest excellence. Transparent enamels are 
in some cases very beautiful, but they do not generally compare w4th the opaque 
enamels, such as were largely used by the Chinese about a hundred and fifty years 
back, and by the Japanese, or those now so skilfully produced by Barbedien, the 
Algerian Onyx Company, and Christophle, all of Paris. 

Chinese claisonne enamel vases may be seen at the South Kensington Museum, 
and here you may also find one or two small pieces of Japanese enamel, as well as 
one or two grand specimens by Barbedien, of Paris. 

The Chinese enamels have most frequently a light blue (sort of torquoise) 
ground, but they occur with both red, white, green, and yellow grounds ; while the 
ornament is of mixed colours, but generally with light yellow-green, deeper blue- 
green, or dark blue prevailing in it. 

The Japanese enamels have a lower tone of colour-effect than the Chinese, and 
the work is finer and the colours more mingled, while the modern French enamels 
are full in colour, and are yet rich and subdued in general effect — some of them, 
indeed, are most beautiful works. 

The Jllkingtons, of Birmingham and London, have also produced some beautiful 
things in this way, but not in the quantities that Barbedien has. I most strongly 
advise the art-student to study these works in enamel. 

Niello-work is a form of enrichment applied to metal, but is not in general use ; 
it is a difficult process. Silver snuff-boxes and pendants for watch-chains with a 
niello pattern upon them are not uncommon, however, in Belgium and Russia, the 
niello pattern appearing as dark lead-pencil work upon the silver. Some niello-work 
is very quiet and beautiful, but much need not be said respecting it. 

Jewels may be inserted in metal, but if this is done they should be somewhat 
sparingly used, even in the most costly of works, for if they are abundant they 
produce mere glitter, and the aim of the ornamentist must in all cases be the 
production of repose. 



Having considered metal-work in its more costly T)ranclies, we come to the con- 
sideration of hardware, and I am glad that we have now to deal with such metal- 
work as results from the use of inexpensive materials, for it is such that must be 
generally employed, while works formed of the precious metals can be used only by 
comparatively few persons. The object of art is the giving of pleasure ; the mission 
of the artist is that of giving ennobling j)leasure. If as an artist I give pleasure, I 
to an extent fulfil my mission; but I do so, perfectly, only when I give the greatest 
amount of the most refined pleasure by my art that it is possible for me to give. If 
by producing works which can be procured by many I give pleasure, it is well that I 
do so ; but if the many fail to derive pleasure from my works, then I must address 
myself to the few, and be content with my lesser mission. Education appears to be 
necessary to the appreciation of all art ; the artist, then, is a man who appeals to the 
educated. If some persons, by their superior education, are enabled to appreciate art 
more fully than those who are ignorant, and can consequently derive more pleasure 
from it than the less cultured person, it might then be desirable that the artist 
should address himself, through costly materials, to the few, for thereby he might be 
giving the greatest amount of pleasure. I always, however, like to produce works in 
cheap materials, for then I know that I form what is capable of giving pleasure to 
the poor man — if appreciative— who may possess it, as well as the rich. 

In hardware we find two classes of work in the market which appear to have 
little in common — the one class being characterised by a preponderance of excellence, 
and the other by the dominance of what is coarse and inartistic. The first class of 
work is that which is produced by what are termed ecclesiastical metal-workers ; the 
second consists of what is generally known as Birmingham ware. 

It is an error to suppose that these so-called ecclesiastical — or mediaeval, as they 
are sometimes called— metal-workers produce only ecclesiastical and mediaeval work. 
On the contrary, some of these men — and they are now many in number — devote them- 
selves almost exclusively to domestic work, and most of them fabricate articles in all 
styles of art. If I wanted an artistic set of fire-irons, I should go to one of the 
ecclesiastical warehouses, for there I have seen many sets that my reason commends 
and my judgment approves ; but I never saw a set produced for the general market 
that I liked; and the most artistic fenders, grates, and gas-fittings, in almost any 
style, are to be got at these shops. I do not mean to convey the impression that all 



thinijs made at these ecclesiastical warehouses are good, and that all things of 
Bimiingliam (or Sheffield) manufacture are bad, for I have seen indifferent works in 
these medieval shops, and I have seen excellent things from Birmingham — especially 
I might mention as good certain gaseliers produced by two of the smaller Bir- 
mingham houses — but as a rule the works found in the medieval warehouses are 

Fig. 163. 

Fig. 104. 

g^od, and as a ride the works in hai'dwaro produced liy Birmingham and Sheffield 
are bad, in point of art. 

It will ajipear a mere repetition if I insist that the materials of which works of 
hardware are formed be used in the easiest manner in fldiich they can be worked, and 
that every article be so formed as perfectly to answer the end of its formation. Yet 
I must do so. Let us look for a common set of fire-innis, and we shall find that nine 
pokers out of ten have a handle terminating in a puinted knob. Now, as the object 
of this knob is that of enabling us to exercise force wherewith to break large pieces 
of coal, the folly of terminating this knob with a point is obvious. A poker is, 
essentially, an object of utility; it should therefore be useful. It is ridiculous to talk 




of a jwkev as an ornameut ; yet we find it fashionable now to have a bright poker as 
an ornament, which is obtrusively displayed lo the visitor, and a little black poker, 
which is careinlly concealed from vieWj reserved for use. I cannot imagine what 

Fig. 166. 

Fig. 165 

people will not do for show and fashion, but to the thinking- mind such littleness as 
that which induces women to kco]> a poker as an ornament must be distressing ; and 
until persons who desire to be regarded as educated learn to discriminate between an 
ornament and an article of utility, little progress in art can be made. If a poker is 
simply a thing to be looked at. then it may l)e as inconvenient as you please, for if 



it has no purpose to fulfil by its creation it cannot be unfitted to its purpose. The 
same remarks will apply to shovel and tongs. If they are intended as works of 
utility, then their form must be carefully considered; but if they are to be mere 
ornaments I have nothing to say respecting them. 

Utility and beauty are not inseparable ; l)ut if an article of any kind is intended 
to answer any particular end, it should be fitted to answer the end proposed by its 
formation; but after it is created as a work of utility, care must be exercised in 


Fiij. 163. 

order that it be also a work of beautj'. With due consideration, almost every work 
may be rendered both useful and beautifid, and it must ever be the aim of the 
intelligent ornamentist to render them so. 

Iron is capable of being wrought in \arious ways ; it maj' bo cast, or hammered, 
or cut, or filed. Casting is the least artistic mode of treating iron ; but if iron is to 
be cast, the patterns formed should be so fully adapted to this method of manu- 
facture that the mode of working ma}' be readily apparent. It is foolish to seek to 
make cast-iron appear as wrought-iron : cast-iron should appear as cast-iron, and 



wrought-iron as -WTOuglit-iron. Cast-ii"ou is brittle, and must not be relioJ upon as 
(if groat strength ; while wrought-iron is tough, and will bend under great pressure 
rather than break. ^Vrought-iron can be readily bent into scrolls, or the end of a 
rod of metal can be hammered flat and shaped into the form of a leaf, and parts can 
either be welded tog-ether or fastened l>y small collars, ])!ns, or screws. One or two 
illustrations of good wrouglit-iron work by Skidmore, Eenham, and Hart, are given 
in the engravings. 

As an illustration of a simple railing, is figured one sho^^^l in the International 
Exhibition of 1802 (Fig. 163), which is in eveiy respect excellent. Its strength is 
very great, yet it is quaint and l)eautiful. As it was shown it was coloured, and the 
colours were so applied as to increase its effect and beauty. If the student «ill 
carefully devote himself to the consideration of excellent works' in metal, he will 

Fig, 169. 

loam more than by much reading. Let him procure, if possible, the illustrated 
catalogues of such men as Hart of London, Hardman of Birmingham, and Dovey of 
Manchester, and study the sketches which he will there see, and he will certainly 
discover the principles of a true art, such as he must seek to apply in a manner 
concordant with his own oi'iginal feelings. 

Of our illustrations, the example by Skidmore (Fig. 164) furnishes us with an 
excellent mode of treatment. Iron bands are readily bent into volutes, or curves of 
various descriptions, and the parts so formed can be united by welding, screws, or 
bolts. Hardman's gate (Fig. 105) is in every respect excellent; it is quaint, 
vigorous, and illustrative of a true mode of working metal. The two foliated railings 
(Figs. 160, 107) are also very meritorious. They are simjile in design, and ihcir 
parts are well fastened together. I advise verj' strongly that the student carefully 
consider the illustrations which accompany this chaj)ter. 

In iron-Work the manifestation of a true constructive princi])le is l>eyond all 
things desirable. Iron, lieing a strong nialcrial, shoidd not be formed into heavy 



masses unless immense weight has to he sustained, or very great strength is required. 
If we form lamps, candelabra, and such works of iron, it is obvious that the portions 
of metal employed in their con>;truction may be thin, as the material is of great 
strength. \\ ere we to form such works of wood, then a greatly increased thickness 
of material would be necessary, in order that the same strength be secured, as wood 
is not nearly so strong as iron. 

My remarks will have special reference to wrought-iron, as cast-iron cannot so 
fully be said to have a constructive character. The small railing (Fig. 1G3) is an 
admirable illustration of a true constructive for- 
mation, as the parts are all held together, and 
strengthened to a wonderful degree, by the in- 
troduction of a hotseshoe-shaped member. This 
railing is worthy of the most careful study, for its 
strength is great. Besides strength we have also 
beauty. The horseshoe form, especially when 
judiciously applied, is far from being offensive. 
Utility must come fh'st, and then beauty, and so 
it does in this particular railing; but here we 
have great simjJicity, and a correct structm-al 
character has been arrived at in its production 
rather than any elaboration of the principles of 

From the catalogue of J. W. Dovey, of Man- 
chester, I select an illustration of structure in the 
form of a candelabrum which is highly satisfactory 
in character as a simple work (Fig. lUS). There 
is a solidly-fonned heavy base, an upright stem 
terminating in a candle-holder. There is an arrangement for catching waste grease, 
and extra strength is given to the stem by four slender buttress-like brackets, which 
are securely and well attached to the base and to the stem above ; and these are 
strengthened by two hoops, which prevent their bending under pressm-e. 

Figs. KjD and 170, the former being a ridge or waU cresting, and the latter a 
stair railing, are each illustrations of a correct treatment, inasmuch as strength (a 
structural cpiality) and beauty (an art quality) are secured at the same time. 
■ Fig. 169 is admirabl} constructed, only it is a little slender above the middle hori- 
zontal line. These two illustrations are also from ^Mr. Dovey's catalogue. 

In the catalogue just named, and in those previously named also, many good 
examples may be found illustrative of the successful combination of true structural 
qualities -oath a considerable amount of beauty, and also acknowledging the strength 
of the material by the lightness of the jjarts. 



Those who reside in, or visit, London, will do well to go to the South Kensino-ton 
Museum, and study a large cud splendid candelabrum of IMessrs. Hart, Son, and 

"lliii'.l in I 

Fig. 171. 

Peard, which is well worthy of consideration. It is rather heavy, and is of enormous 
strength, hut in most other respects it is highly commendable. It is beautiful, well 
proportioned, and illustrative of a correct treatment of metal. Besides this, it 



exemplifies the manner in which stone3 or jewels may be applied to works in 
hardware with advantage. As a further illustration of a correet and very beautiful 
treatment of metal, we give one segment of the Hereford Cathedral Screen (Fig. 171), 
the work of that most intelligent of metal-workers, Mr. Skidmore of Coventry. 
This screen was shown in the International Exhibition of 180:3, in London, and was 
from there removed to its place iu the cathedral. All who can will do well to \aew 
this beautiful work, which is one of the finest examples of artistic metal-work -n-ith 
which we are acquainted. Notice the ea.£e with which iron may be treated if a 

correet mode of working be employed. Let a bar of iron be taken which is about 
half an inch in thickness, by H broad. This can be rolled into a volute (the filigree 
mode of treatment), or its end can be hammered out into stems and leaves, and to it 
can lie attached other leaves by rivets, screws, or ties, or it can Vie bent into any 
structural form. To the student I say, study the shapes into which simple bars of 
iron can be beaten, both mentally and by observing well-formed works. 

Brass, copper, and other metals may be associated with iron in the formation of 
any works. If well managed, brass and other bright metals may act as gems — that 
is, they may give bright spots ; but where the bright metals are used with this \-iew, 
care must be exercised in order that the bright spots be formed by beautiful parts, and 
that their distribution be just, for that which is bright will attract first attention. 

Before leaving this part of our subject, I must call attention to a hinge by 


TLii-diiian, of Birmingham, which was shown in the International Exhibition of 18G2, 
as it is both quaint and beautiful (Fig. 172). The door to which this hinge was 
ajjplied ojiened twice; the first half ojiened and folded back on the second half, and 
then the two halves opened as one door, as will be seen from the illustration. It is 
very desirable that we have a little novelty of arrangement in our works. We are 
too apt to repeat ourselves, hence it is a sort of relief to meet with a new idea. 

It is impossible that I take up each article of hardware and consider it separately. 
All I can do is to point out principles, and leave the learner to consider and apply 
them for himself — principles which, once understood, may result in the construction 
of many excellent works, and may lead to the formation of a correct judgment 
respecting such objects as may be brought forward for criticism. I vnW, however, 
just call attention to gas-branches, as they are often wrongly constructed. A gas- 
branch is a duet through which gas is to be conveyed. It must be strong if it is to 
be exposed to pressure, or if it runs the chance of coming in collision with the person, 
as do standard lights in public buildings. The main part of a gas-branch is the tube 
or pipe which is to convey the gas, but this may be supported in many ways, as by 
such buttress-like brackets as in the candelabrum shown in Fig. 1G8; and if there 
are branch tubes for several Hghts, these may well be connected with the central 
tube, not only by their own attachment, but by brackets of some sort, or with one 
another by some connecting parts. Whether the gas-branch be pendent or standard, 
tliis mode of strengthening the tube-work should be employed, for the tubes 
themselves are Init slightly held together, and by pressure being brought to bear 
upon them, a dangerous and expensive escape of gas may result. 

In the manufacture of gaseliers one or two of the smaller Birmingham houses 
have certainly distinguished themselves l)y the production of works both beautiful 
and true; and these lead me to think that a better day is dawning for Birmingham, 
in which its art shall be exalted rather than degraded, and shall be such as will 
win to it the esteem of the world rather tiian call forth the execrations of art- 
loving people. 

As to the colouring of iron I can say little. In my judgment the best modes 
of colouring metals were originated by Mr. Skidmore of Coventry, of whom I have 
before spoken. His theory is this, that metals are best coloured by the tints of their 
oxides. When a metal, especially brass, is seen in a furnace in a molten condition, 
the flames, where the oxygen of the atmosphere is uniting with the vapour of the 
metal, present the most resplendent tints. The same thing in a lesser degree occurs 
in the case of iron, but here the colours are less brilliant, and are more tertiary in 
character. Mr. Skidmore applies to a metal the colours seen in the flames of the 
furnace where it melts. Without attempting to limit the colourist to any theory 
whereby his ideas might be restricted, I must say that Skidmore's colouring of the 
metals is very good. 



From early times it has been customary to colour glass. To the a^icient 
Egyptians a method of forming glass of various ''iuts was known, and by j^roduciiig 
a mass of glass consisting of variously coloured pieces vitreously united, and cutting 
this into slices, they, in a costly and laborious manner, produced a sort of stained 
glass which might have been employed for the sides of lanterns or other purposes. 
The Greeks were acquainted with a similar process, and bowls formed in this manner 
by them are common in our museums. 

Soon after the re-discovery of glass in our own country, methods of colouring 
it were sought, and cathedral windows were formed, which were of such beauty, 
and were so thorouglily fitted to answer the end of their creation, that little or no 
improvement upon these early works has even yet been made, and much of the 
decorative glass which we now produce is far inferior to th( m as regards design, 
colour, and mode of treatment. 

A window must fulfil two purposes — it must keep out rain, wind, and cold, and 
must admit light ; having fulfilled these ends, it may be beautiful. 

If a window commands a lovely view let it, if possible, be formed of but few 
sheets (if not very large, of one sheet) of plate-glass; for the works of God are 
more worthy of contemplation, with their ever-changing beauty, than the works of 
man ; but if the window commands only a mass of bricks and mortar inartistically 
arranged, let it, if possible, be formed of coloured glass having beauty of design 
manifested by the aiTangement of its parts, A window should never appear as a 
picture with parts treated in light and shade. The foreshortening of the jiarts, and 
all perspective treatments, are best avoided, as far as possible. I do not say that 
the human figure, the lower animals, and plants must not be delineated upon window 
glass, for, on the contrary, they may be so treated as not only to be beautiful, but 
also to be a consistent decoration of glass ; but this I do say, that many stained 
windows are utterly spoiled through the window being treated as a picture, and not 
as a protection from the weather and as a source of light. 

If pictorially treated subjects are employed upon window glass, they should be 
treated very simply, and drawn in bold outline without shading, and the parts should 
be separated from each other by varying their colfiurs. Thus, the flesh of a figure 
may l)e formed of glass having a pink tone ; the robe of the figure of glass which is 
green, purple, or any other colour ; a flower may be formed of white glass, or of glass 



of any colour ; the leaves of green glass ; and the sky background of hlue glass. 
All the parts will thus be distinguished from each other by colour, and the 

Fig. ua. 

Kig. 174. 

distinction of part from part will be further enhanced by the strong black outline 
which bounds the parts and furnishes the drawing of the picture. 

Strong colours should rarely be used in windows, as they retard the admission 

of light. Liglit is essential to our well-liciii;. 

■allli 'if body depen 

lis III ;i Urn'c 





msasure upon the amount of light which falls upon the skin. Those wonderful 
chemical changes, in the absence of which chere can be no life, in part, at least, 
depend upon the exposure of our bodies to light ; let our windows, th3n, admit these 
It must also be remembered that if light is not freely admitted 

liJe-giving rav 

Fig. I7i 

fig. 17(5. 

Fife'. 177. 

FiK 178. 

Fi^ 179. 

Fig ISO. 

to an apartment the colours of all the objects which it contains, and of its own 
decorations if it has any, are sacrificed, for in the absence of light there is no colour. 
It is not necessary, in order to the production of a beautifid window, that much 
strong colour be used ; tints of creamy yellow, pale amber, light tints of tertiary 
blue, blue-grey, olive, russet, and other sombre or delicate hues, if enlivened with 



small portions of ruby or other lull i-olours, produce the most charming effects, and 
by their use we have consistent windows. 

A good domestic window is often produced l)y armorial beariiig-s in colour being 
placed on geometrically arranged tesserse of slightly tinted glass. In some cases 
such an arrangement as this is highly desirable, for the room may thus get the 
benefit which a bit of colour will sometimes afford, and at the same time a pleasant 
view may be had through the iincoloured portion of the window. As an illustration 

Fip. ISl. 

Fig. 182. 

of this class of window, we extract one from the catalogue of those excellent artii-ts 
ill stained glass, Messrs. Heaton, Butler, and Bayne, of Garrick Street (Fig. 17-"3). 
A good window may also be forinod by bordering a plain window with colour, 
(Fig. 171), or in place of the ])lain centre squares of glass may lie used, each bearing 
a diaper pattern, as Figs. 17."j to ]!S2. 

No architectural constructive feature should be introduced into a window — thus, 
an elaborate architectural canopy overshadowing a figure is not at all desirable. 
]f a figure is formed of a perishable material, and stands on the outside of a 
building, it is well that it be jirotected from the rain by a canojiy ; but such a 



contrivance when iiv- 
troduued over a figure 
drawn on a flat win- 
dow is absnrd, being 
useless. Let us 
always consider what 
we have to do before 
we commence tlie 
formation of any 
ornamental article, 
and then seek to do 
it in the most simple, 
consistent, and bean- 
tiful manner. Figs. 
183 and 18i repre- 
sent my views of 
what stained glass 
may advantageously 

More than once 
in the course of these 
chapters I have pro- 
tested in strong terms 
against pretence in 
art and art-decoration 
— the desire to make 
things appear to be 
made of better ma- 
terial or more costly 
sul)stances than what 
they have in reality 
been wrought from — 
that leads men to 
paint and varTiisli a 
]ilain freestone man- 
telpiece in imitation 
of some expensive 

marble, or to make Fig-. iS3. 

doors and window-shutters, skirting and jiauelling that the carpenter has fashioned 
out of red or yellow deal, assume the appearance of oak, or majjle, or satinwood, by 



the deceptive skill of the grainer. In no 
case can the imitation ever approach a fair 
resemblance to the reality it is proposed to 
imitate. The coarse, rough grain of the soft 
freestone, which is incapable of receiving a 
polish, or rather of being polished until it 
becomes as smooth, and even, and lustrous 
as good glass, can never be made by suc- 
cessive coatings of paint and varnish to 
afford a satisfactory resemblance to the 
iiiarlile that it is supposed to represent, 
however carefully the cunning hand of the 
painter may have imitated the veins, and 
spots, and curious diversities of colour 
with which Nature has variegated the 
surface of the substance that he is en- 
deavouring to copy. Nor, again, can a 
coarse-grained, soft wood, however skilled 
may be the hand that manipulates it, be 
treated so as to resemble the texture and 
smoothness of hard, close-grained wood, 
which from its very nature is capable of 
receiving the high jMlish that the softer 
material can never take if treatetl by the 
same process — that is, unless the expense 
of producing tlie imitation greatly exceeds 
the cost of the thing imitated. And what 
is ajii'licable to the treatment of wood and 
stone is ajijilicable also to the treatment 
of glass : for as a freestone mantelpiece, 
or deal door, however suitable and pleasing 
to the eye either may be when simply 
painted in thy*' one case and varnished in 
the other to preserve the surface from 
the deteriorating influences of dirt of any 
kind, can never be made by the exercise 
of reasonable time and skill to present the 
appearance of marble or oak ; so glass, 
by the ajiplication of colour rendered 
transparent by varnish, can never be 



brought to resemble glass stained or painted by the legitimate method, either 
in delicacy of tint, or depth, and richness, and brilliancy of colour. The greater 
part of the imitative stained glass, or " diaphanie " as it is styled, fails not only 
in colour, but in design ; and in this indeed it may perhaps be said to be especially 
fiulty. The designs, which are printed on paper, with the view cif imitating glass 
patterns, err principally in being too elaborate, and in representing figures and 
scenery which are not in character or keeping with the designs that are usually 
represented in painted glass. If confined to simple diaper w^ork, or borderings and 
heraldic emblems, as shown in Figs. 173 and 17-1-, or patterns similar to that shown 
in Fig. 18:3, the artistic eiTect produced would be more satisfactory, although it 
can never equal genuine stained glass in depth of colour or purity of tone. 



1 HAVE now treated of art as ajiplied to our industrial manufactures, and have pointed 
out principles which must he recognisable in all art-works which pretend to merit. 
We have seen that material must in all cases be used in the simplest and most 
natural manner; that, wherever possible, we must avail ourselves of the friendly aid 
of natural forces;* that the most convenient shape must always be selected for a 
vessel or art-object of any kind ; and that baauty must then be added to that which 
is useful. All art-objects must be useful and then beautiful ; they must be utili- 
tarian, and yet so graceful, so comely, that they shall be loved for their beauty as 
well as valued for their usefulness. While I have set forth those jirinciples which 
must ever govern the application of ornament to useful articles, I cannot show the 
student any roj'al road to the attainment of art-knowledge. There is something in a 
true art-work which is too subtle for expression by words ; there is a " quality " about 
an art-work, or the expi-ession of an amount of " feeling," which cannot be described, 
yet which is so obvious as to be at once apparent to the trained eye. 

The only way in which the power of apj)reciating art-qualities can be gained, 
especially if these qualities are of a stdjtle nature, is by the careful study of works of 
known excellence. Could the student visit our museums in company with a trained 
ornamentist, who would point out what was good and what was bad in art, he would 
soon learn, by studying the beautiful works, to perceive art-qualities ; but as this is 
not possible to most, the learner must be content to consider each art-work with 
which he comes in contact in conjunction with the principles I have set forward. 

Let him take a work — say a tea-pot. He will now ask himself — has the 
material of which it is formed l)een judiciously and simply used ? — is the shape con- 
venient ? — is the handle properly applied, and does the spout bear a proper relation 
to the handle ? — is the form graceful or vigorous ? — is the curve which bounds the 
form of a subtle nature? — is the engraving applied in judicious quantities and in just 
proportions ? — are the engraved forms beautiful, and such as do not suffer by being 
seen in perspective on a rounded surface ? By such questions the student will 
iu(|nire into the nature of whatever is presented to his considei'ation, and only by 
constantly making such inquiries, and seeking to answer them correctly, can he gain 
the knowledge whic^i will enable him rightly to judge of the nature of art-works 

• See chapters on glass and earthenware. 


Some of these inquiries the young student will readily answer, with others he will 
have difficulty; for, his taste being yet uneidtivated, he will not know whether a 
form is beautiful or not. Nevertheless, I say to the learner, try to answer these 
various inquiries as well as you can, and then note the shape of the object in a 
memorandtmi-book, and MTite your opinion respecting it in brief terms, and your 
reasons for your opinion. By thus noting your studies you gain many advantages ; 
thus, you must frame your ideas with some degree of exactness when you have to put 
them into words, and exactness of idea is essential to your success. You can also 
refer to previous thoughts, and thus impress them upon the memory ; and you can 
observe your progress, which is important, and should be encouraging. In order 
that you acquire the power of perceiving art-merit as quickly as possible, you must 
study those works in which examples of bad taste are rarely met with, you must at 
first consider art-objects from India, Persia, China, and Japan, as well as examples 
of ancient art from Egj'pt and Greece. But in selecting modern works from the 
East, choose those which are not altogether new if possible. 

During the last ten years the art-works of Japan have deteriorated to a 
lamentable extent. Contact with Europeans unfortunately brings about the deterio- 
ration of Eastern art : in order that the European demand be met, quantity is 
produced and quality disregarded, for we cavil respecting price, and jet by thus 
creating a demand for inferior work we raise the price even of that which is 
comparatively bad, and soon have to pay for the coarser wares a price for which 
superior articles could at first be procured. 

But this should be noted : that the commonest wares which we receive from 
Japan and India are never utterly bad iu art. Inharmonious colouring does not 
appear to be produced by these nations, and the same may be said of Persia and 
China, and, to an extent, of Morocco and Algeria, the only exceptions being where 
European influence has been long continued. In selecting examples for study you 
may almost rely upon the beauty of all works from China, Japan, Persia, and India, 
which have not been produced under European influence. 

A notable example of the deteriorating influence of European taste (perhaps 
chiefly English taste) upon Eastern art is apparent if we examine old carved sandal- 
wood boxes from India, and those which are now sent to us from the same country ; 
the quiet, unobtrusive consistency of the ornament by which it was sought only to 
enrich a properly constructed box was not sufliciently attractive to suit Em-opean (or 
English ?) taste. The ornament must be more pronounced and in higher relief, and 
the entire work must be more attractive — more vulgarly attractive I might sav, 
and thus the exquisite refinement of the older works is sacrificed to the wants of a 
rich but vulgar people, whose taste for art is infinitely below that of their conquered 
brethren, from whom they learn the principles of a beautiful art but slowly, while they 
do much to destroy the refinement of art-taste which the woi'kmen of our Eastern 



empire appear to inherit. Stiuly the works of the Eastern nations in conjunction 
with the remarks which I made in my first chapter (see pages 6, 9, and 48), and then 
consider the numerous objects left to us by the early Egyptians and Greeks, and bear 
in mind while viewing them what we have said on Egjfptian and Greek art (see 
pages 6, 8, and 10), and after having learned to understand the merits of Persian, 
Japanese, Indian, and Chinese art, and of that of the ancient Egj^ptians and Greeks, 
you may commence to consider other styles, taking up the study of Italian and 
Renaissance art in its various farms last of all; for in these styles, or dialects of 
a style if I may thus speak, there is so much that is false in structure, false 
in representation, untruthful in expression, and pictorial rather than ornamental in 
effect, that a very complete acquaintance witli ornamental art is necessary in order 
that all the defects of these styles be apparent, and in order that the student avoid 
falling into the error of regarding a pictorial effect as the result of a true style of 
ornamental art. 

Study, when accompanied by individual thought, is the means whereby art- 
knowledge will be gained. No mere looking at works which are beautiful and true 
will make a great ornamentist. He who would attain to great knowledge must study 
whatever commends itself to him as worthy of his attention, and, above all, must 
think much upon the works whicli he contemplates; it is the evidence of mind — not 
of degraded but of noble mind, of refined mind, of cultivated mind, of well-informed 
mind, of mind which has knowledge, of mind which has vigour, of mind which is 
fre-sli and new — that we find impressed upon a work and giving to it value. "VA'hile 
we, as art-students, have, above all things, to attain to cultivation of the mind, we 
cannot give expression to refined feelings manifested in form unless we can draw, and 
draw almost fi^ultlessly ; and the ability to draw with accuracy, power, and feeling 
can only result from much practice. 

Let every spare moment, then, find the sketch-book in your hand, and be con- 
stantly trying to draw both carefully, neatly, and with exactness and finish, such 
objects as you see around you, even if examples of good art-works are not at hand ; 
for by constant and careful practice you can alone acquire the necessary power of 
expressing refined thought in refined form. Avoid making hasty sketches. When 
n finished artist, you can a-"ford to make sketch memoranda; but till you can draw 
with groat power, energy, truthfulness, and refinement, let your eveiy dra'n'ing be as 
careful and as finished in character, however simple the object portrayed, as though 
ynur welfare in life depended upon its chai-acter, for upon every sketch your future 
position does, to a great extent, depend. The habit of careful painstaking should 
sedulously be cultivated ; and with every draw ing thus made an amount of power 
is gained which the making of a hundred careless sketches would not afford. Let 
painstaking, then, be characteristic of your working. 

Ornament of some kind is applied to almost every article that we see around us. 


Tlie pajiors on our walls, the carpats on our floors, the hangings at our windows, the 
plates from which we eat, are all covered by patterns of some kind ; yet it is rarej 
even now when ornamentation has become general, to find anything original in 
ornament; and if we do meet with something new in kind it is often feeble or 
timid-looking, if it does not altogether fail to impress us with the idea that the 
producer was a man of knowledge. Let the reader be assured that if the designer 
is a man of knowledge, his ornamental compositions will never fail to reveal his 
learning; that if he is a man of power, his works will reveal his strength of 
character; if he is a man of refined feelings, that his designs ^\'ill manifest his 
tenderness of perception. In like manner, if a man is ignorant he cannot withhold 
from his patterns the manifestation of his ignorance. Did not the Eg^'ptians 
express their power of character in their ornaments ? did not the Greeks manifest 
their refinement in the forms which they drew ? do we not even find an expression 
of religious feeling strongly, yea, impressively, set forth by some art-works, as by 
the illuminated manuscripts of the early jNIiddle Ages ? and do we not every day see 
the impress of the ignorant upon certain wall-papers, carpets, and other things ? It 
is a fact, and it is necessary that we fully recognise it, that the knowledge of the 
producer is manifested by his works ; and that the ignorance of the ignorant is also 
manifested in his works. 

If ornament is produced having new characters, it is often feeble, and is generally 
without grace ; while power is the exjjression of manliness, and grace of refinement. 
Without claiming to have made a successful effort, I put forth, in the frontispiece 
to this volume (Plate I.), four of my studies in original ornament, all of which are 
to me more or less satisfactory as studies in comjxisition. I have endeavoured to 
secure in each an amount of energy, vigour — the power of life, yet at the same time 
to avoid coarseness, or any glaring want of refinement. I have sought to combine 
right lines, which are expressive of power, with such curved shapes as shall, with 
them, jjroduce a pleasing contrast of form, and express a certain amount of grace. 
In the light ornament on the citrine ground (that at the lower left-hand corner of 
our plate) I have endeavoured especially to secure an exjn-ession of grace in com- 
bination with that amount of energy which avoids any expression of feebleness. 

In the border ornament I have introduced the arch form, as it hints at a 
structural "setting out" which is pleasant; and I have endeavoured to cause the 
composition to apjjear as though it rested on the lower dotted band, as this gives a 
feeling of secm-ity. I do not say that it is necessary that this be so : all I assert is 
that in some cases it gives a feeling of satisfaction. 

So far as I know, the colouring is also original. The colours employed are 
chiefly of a tertiary character, but small masses of primary or secondary colours are 
employed in order to impart "life" to the composition. 

I do not set these studies before my readers with the idea of showing them 


wliat orin;'iiiiil ornament should he : I only set them forth as examples of new 
compositions, and must leave each to clothe his own thoughts with a bafitting 
expression of his individual original ideas. 

As I am writing for the working man, as W2II as for others, will he pardon me 
reminding him that we are called to exercise an art, yet at the same time our art 
is associated with the scientific professions — a knowledge of natural sciences, of 
botany, zoology, natural philosophy, and chemistry can be very fully utilised in our 
art — and that we should, therefore, act as professional men and as artists of the 
highest rank ; for thereby only can we hope to place our calling in tliat position of 
esteem in which it should be held, and must be held, by the peojile at large. If we 
are to administer to their pleasure as we ought. 

In taking leave of my reader, let me say that if I personally can aid him 
in any way, I shall be glad to do so. If any who really seek knowledge of 
decorative design, and are hard workers, choose to send me designs for criticism 
or comment, or desire any other aid that I can give th"m, I shall be happy to 
do what little I can for them. My address will be found at the (md of the 

I fi D 


Alterralion in Ornament, 24. 

America, Depraved Artistic Taste in, 104. 

Anthemion ; a Greek Decorative Device, 9. 

Arabian Metal-work, 137. 

Arch used in Furniture, 51, 52. 

Art may bo Degrading, 2 ; aims at producing 
Repose, 63 ; the Object of, 144 

Art-knowledge, The Yalue of, 2. 

Baptism, Symbol of, in Gothic Art, 12. 

Beauty in Decoration, 16, 17. 

Bed-room, Decoration for a, 15. 

Birmingham Ware, 144, 145, 152. 

BlacV, a Neutral in Decorative Woi-k, 45. 

Buhl-work, 64. 

Buildings, Decoration of, 73, et seq. 

Byzantine Ornament, 11. 

Cabinet, Construction of a, 61. 

Calico, Patterns on, 107. 

Carpets, Art-qualities and Patterns of, 94, 
etseq.; Different Sorts of, 94, 96; Foreign- 
made, 102, 103; how they should be laid 
down,105; the Conditions which Govern 
the Application of Ornament to, 106. 

Carving, when to be used, 61, 62. 

Casting in Metal, 136. 

Casting, the least Artistic Mode of Treating 
Iron, 147. 

Ceilings, Decoration of, 75, et seq. ; Various, 
worthy of Study, 82 ; with Painted 
Pictures Objectionable, 82. 

Celtic Ornament, 25. 

Chair-coverings, 72. 

Chairs, Construction of, 62 — 57. 

Character of the Designer shown by his 
Work, 163. 

Chinese Enamels, 143. 

„ Harmony of Colour, 48. 
„ Ornament, 11. 

Christian Art, 11, 12. 

Clay as a Material for Art-purposes, 117, 
et seq. 

Colour — iu Decoration, 30, et eeq. ; Contrast 
in, 32, 33 ; Primary, Secondary, and 
Tertiary, 32; Harmony in, 30, 39, et seq, ; 
Qualities of, 33, 34; Analytical Tables 
of, 34 ; Teachings of Experience in 
regard to, 34, 45 ; Proportions in which 
Colours Harmonise, 34, 3-5, ^6; Pure, 
and Pigments, 37, 38; Permanence of, 
38, note ; Shades, Tints, and Hues, 39 ; 
Works on, referred to, 49 ; for Stained 
Windows, 154, et seq. 

Colouring Metals. See Skidmore, Mr. 

Colour-top, the, 48, and note. 

Copper Vessels Inlaid with Silver, 142. 

Cornices, Colouring of, 93. 

Couches, 57, et seq. 

Curtain Materials, 107, et seq. 

Curves, most Beautiful when most Subtle, 2-3. 

Damascene Work. 139. 

Damask Table-linen, Patterns on, lU7, 108, 

Damask Wall-coverings. See Silk Wall 

Decanters, what they should be, 129. 

Decoration should be in keeping with Archi- 
tecture, 73, 74, 75. 

Design and Oi-nament, Redgrave on, 60. 

Dining-room, Decoration for a, 14. 

Dining-tables, Mr. Eastlake on Telescopic, 
66, 67. 

Distemper Colours for Wall Decoration, 83. 

Doric Column, The, 9. 

Drawing-room, Decoration for a, 15. 

Dress, Ladies' and Gentlemen's, 90. Pat- 
terns for Ladies', 112. 



Earthen Vessels, Decoration of, 125, 126, 

Eastlake, Mr., on Household Art, rcTerred 
to, 52, and note. 

Ecclesiastical Metal-workers, 144, 145. 

Egyptian Architecture, 8. 

„ Coloured Glass, 153. 

„ Drawing, Peculiarity of, 5. 

„ Ornament, 4 — 8. 

Embroidery on Cotton, Indinn, 114. 

Enamelling in Motal-work, 143. 

England, Architectural Buildings in, 11 ; 
House Decoration in, 30, 31. 

European Influence Injurious to Eastern 
Art, 161. 

Excess in Upholstery, 70. 

Fabrics, Patterns Suitable for "Woven, 107, 
et seq. 

Finish, its Value Orer-estimatcd, 120. 

Folds, Ornamentation of Fabrics to be seen 
in, 112, et seq. 

French Errors of Taste in Furniture, 65. 

Furniture, Decorative Principles .apjilied to, 
50, et seq.; what is Required to make it 
an Object of Art, 50 ; Material used for, 
61; Truthful Construction of, 59, 65, 
et seq. ; Piuportion and Enrichment of, 
61, 63. 

Glass, as a Material for Art-purposes, 118, 
127, et seq.; Vessels.Various, 130, et seq.; 
Vessels, Coloured, 131, 132: Cutting 
of, 132 ; Engraving of, 133 ; Ornamen- 
tation of, 133; Stained, 153, it seq. 

Gold, a Neutral in Decorative Work, 44, 45. 

Gold and Silver, Works in, 136. 

Gothic Architecture, Modern, 74. 

„ Furniture, Falsely Constructed, 66. 
„ Ornament, 12. 

Granite Imitated, Objected to, 89. 

Greek Coloured Glass, 153. 
„ Ornament, 9, 10, 11. 
„ Vessels, 121. 

Grotesque. See Humour. 

Handles of Vessels, 138, 139, 140. 

Hardware, Art in Connection with, 144, 
et seq. 

Harmony of (-olour. See Colour. 

Historical Inquiry Necessary to the Under- 
standing of Decoration, 4. 
Humour in Ornament, 24 — 29 ; Chinese and 

Japanese, 25, 27, 28. 
Imitations of Marbles and Granites, 89. 
Indian Art Injured by European Influence, 
„ Fal)rics, 48, note. 
„ „ Mr. Redgrave on, 11.5, 116. 

„ Metal-work, 142. 
„ Work in regard to Colouring, 47. 
Inlaying as a means of Enriching Works of 

Furniture, 63. 
Irish Crosses, Numerous Ornaments on, 25. 
Iron, as an Art-material, 142. 
„ how Wrought, 147. 
„ Metals that may be Associated with, 
Iron-castings of Berlin, 136. 
Iron-work, Oruamental, 147, et seq.; must 

Manifest a True Constructive Principle, 

148; Colouring of, 1.52. 
Italian Metal-work, 142. 
Japan, Deterioration in the Art-works of, 

Japanese Art, 11, 

„ Colouring, 48. 

„ Earthenware, 120. 

„ Enamels, 142, 143. 

„ Metal-work, 142. 
Jewels in Metal-work, 143. 
Joists in ('eilings, how they should be 

Treated, 79. 
Labour Necessary to Success in Art, 4, 31. 
Library, Decoration for a, 15. 
Lotus in Egyptian Design, 5, 6. 
Marble Imitated, Objected to, 89. 
Medieval Met. al- workers, 144, 145. 
Mental Effects produced by Decorative 

Forms, 14. 
Moorish Ornament, 11. 
Muslin, Patterns on, 107. 
Natural Forms in Carpet Patterns, 96, 97, 

Niello-work applied to Metals, 143. 
Norman Architecture, 11. 
Novelty Wanted in Carpet Patterns. 105. 



Oil-colour " Flatted" for Wall Decoration, 83. 

Order, a Principle in Ornament, 23. 

Ormolu Ornaments, 64. 

Ornament and Architecture Inseparable, 13. 

Papered Walls. Stt Wall Papers. 

Papyrus in Egyptian Architecture, 8. 

Persian Ornament, 11. 

Picture Frames, 72 

Pigments. See Colour. 

Plants as Ornaments, How to Treat, 24 

Plaques of Stone or Earthenware applied 
to Works of Furniture, 63, 64. 

Pottery, Art in, 117, et seq. 

Power an Art-principle, 17. 

Precious Materials in the Form of Art- 
works,' 117, 118. 

Preface, v., vi. 

Pretence in Art-decoration, 157 — 159. 

Proportion must be Subtle, 23. 

Purpose, Adaptation to. Taught by Plants, 

Eenaissance Ornament, 13. 

Repetition of Parts in Ornament, 23. 

Roman Ornament, 11. 

Shams in Decoration, 8f. 

Silk, Patterns on, 107. 

Silk Wall Damasks, 114. 

Silversmiths' Work, 135, et seq. 

Skidmore, Mr , and his Theory of Colouring 
Metals, 152. 

Sofa-coverings, 70, 72. 

South Kensington Museum, 48, note. 

Spouts of Vessels, 139, et seq. 

Stools, 53 

Study of Art-decoration, how it should be 

carried on, 14, 160, 161, 162. 
Styles of Architecture, 73. 
Sugar-basin, its Form, 138. 
Surface Decoration, 73, et seq. 
Symbols in Christian Art, 12. 
Table-covers, The Borders of, 109, 111. 
Taste of the Uneducated, 15. 
Trinitj-, Symbols of the, in Gothic Art, 12. 
Truth an Art-principle, 15, 16, 89, 158, 16'.^. 
ULility must Govern the Production and 
Application of Ornament, 17 — 22, 

„ in Architecture, 20. 

„ Professor George Wilson on, 19, 20. 

„ Various Writers on, 20. 
Vehicles for Art, The Best, the least Costly, 3 
VeneorJiig, 69. 
Venetian Glass, 130, 131. 
Vessels, Primitive, 120. 
Wall Decorations, 83, et seq. 
Wall Papers, 87, 90, et seq. 
Walls should be Unobtrusive, 90. 
Water-vessels, EgyptianandGreek,121 — 124. 
White a ISTeutral in Decorative Work, 4-5. 
Window-hangings, 69, 70, 108. 
Windows, 69, 70; the Object of, 153; how 

they should be Treated, 153. 
Wine-bottles, Forms of, 128. 
" Winged Globe," in Egyptian Design, 7. 
Woods and their Relative Strength, 51. 
Workmen ; their Study of Decorative Laws, 1 . 

„ Advice to, 164. 
Wrought-iron, its Qualities, 147, 148. 

Casseix, Pettek, & Gilpin, Beii.k SAtViOE Woeks, Iokdon, E (» 


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Set Squares, Parallel, Scale 50 o 

,0. Rosewood Case, with lock and key, containing a pair of 
Dividers, Compass with Pen and Pencil Legs, Lengthening 
Bar, Ruling Pen, Protractor, Set Squares, and Scale ... 6 o 

*,• This Box {No. 70) contaiiis the Ifistrjtfuents required/or 
tk£ Second Grade Geometry Exaittiiiatiott of the Science 
and Art Department. {See Science Directory.) A speci- 
men wiii be sent, carriage Paid, on receipt of the price by 

I. Improved Colours, 12 Cakes, Brush, and Saucers o 4' 

6. Boy's Own Colour Box, 12 Cakes and Sauceis o 6 

7. The Shilling Colour Box, 14 Cakes, do., do i o 

8. The Unique Colour Box, 18 Cakes, do., do i 9 

9. The Educator Colour Box, 27 Cakes, do., do 3 o 

T/ie aboz'e are in PolisJu-d Malw^any Boxes, with Sliding Lids. 

10. Polished Wood Box, with Sliding Lid, containing 12 Cakes 

and Saucers ... j ^ 

^5 go. do. do'. I'sCak"^ 2 o 

2^ JJO' do. do. 24 Cakes 3 o 
171. Containing 21 Dishes of Moist Colours in tin. Porcelain 
Palette, Brushes, &c., in Mahogany Box, with spring 

lock ,0 6 

The Technical Drawing Box, containing Set of Mathe- 
matical Instruments, Colours and Slab, Induin Ink, Pencil, 
India Rubber, Drawing Pins, Brushes, Set Square, 12-inch 

Rule, in Polished Wood Box, with sliding lid 5 o 

The Sti dem r"s Box, in Solid Mahogany, with spring 
lock, coi taining a Complete Set of Machematical Instru- 
ments, as in No. 70 Box, with 6 Sticks of Superfine 
Artistic Colours, Indian Ink, Drawing Pins. 2 Set Squares, 
Parallel Rule, Plotting Scale, Curve, Camel-hair Brushes 

with Tin Handles, Pencils, Slab, &c 10 o 

120. Containing 9 large Cakes, Brush, Crayons, and Saucers ... i o 
119. Containing 9 large Cakes. Compass, Stumps, Crayons, &c. 2 6 
542. Containing 14 Sticks of Water Colours, Indian Ink. Sepia, 

3 ^^aucere and Brushes, White Wood Polished Box ... 3 o 
117. Containing 15 large Cakes, Brushes, do. do. ... 2 3 

55. Containing 15 middle Cakes, Brushes, Crayons, &c., lock 

and key 5 g 

54. Containing 18 large Cakes, Brushes, Crayons, &c., lock and 

J«ey 7 6 

57. Containmg 12 large Cakes, in a handsome Case, inlaid with 
Brass, Brushes, Glue, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Saucers, 

Rules. &c.. Saucers, lock and key 9 6 

71. Containing 16 Cakes of Water Colours. 6 Saucers, Gold 
and Silver Saucers, Indian Ink. Stumps, Crayons, Set 

Squares, &c., handsomely Inlaid Box 21 o 

213. Containing 15 Pans of Moist Colours, with Lid to be used 
as Palette, and Tray for Brushes, &a, in Japanned Tin 

Pocket Case 6 6 

204. Containing 18 Cakes, with Brushes and Lid to serve as 

Palettes, in Japanned Tin Pocket C^se 5 6 


Beam Compass, with Tangent Screw, needle 

points, in case 

Bow Compass, with Pen and Pencil-legs, in case 
iipring Bows, set of three, Ivory handles, in case, 

needlepoints ... stee'. 

Bpring Bow, Pen or Pencil Point, Ivory handle, in 


Proportional Compass, 6-in., in case 

Do. do. with Rack 

Do. do. fully divided 

Tf apier Pocket Compasses, needle points, in case 

Pencil Compasses 

Dividers, 4-in. 

Do. s-in. 

Do. 6-in. 

Universal Compasses, pen and pencil reversible point, each 

Do. do. fcur changes „ 

Universal Bow Compasses, reversible pull-off point „ 

Wooden Compasses, for black-board use, 12-in 

Do. do. 15-in 

Do. do. i8-in. ... 

Portecrayons or Pencil-holders (per dozen) :— 


5. d. 


s. d. 

No. o. Brass, common 
I. Do. strong 
3. Do. extra strong ... 

^.B.—Any of the. ahove-mentioned. llaieriaXs may be had by ordrr 
Cassell Pettee 4 Galpin. Should any di^culty arise as 
direct, on receipt of the ommnif iii stamps, or per Post-Office 

N0.4. Black handle. Brass 

5. Bone handle, do. 

6. Brass, verj- strong 


Parallel, Ebony, 6-in. 


Ivory Divided edges 



Do. do. 9-in. 

Do. do. 12 in. 

Do. do. 15-in. 

Do. do. iB-in. 

Do. Rolling, Ebony, 12-in, 

Do. do. do. do. 
Plotting Scale, Bo.vwood, 6-in. 

Protractor, Boxwood, 6-in. i o 

Do- for School use o g 

Sector, Boxwood, 12-in. folding i 6 

Strong Boxwood Divided Rules, bevelled, fper dozen 9 o 

inches, half-inches, eighths, &c \ or singly : o 

Also Vulcanite Rules, Divided, 6-in., 8-in. ,10-in., and 

12-iu., at id. per inch. 

School Plat Rules, Pearwood. 12-in. ... per dozen 1 o 

Do. Divided, plain Boxwood, bevelled, 6-in. „ 10 

Do. do. do. do. 9-in. „ 16 

Do. do. do. do. 12-in. ,, 20 

PaTallel, 6-in., German Silver bars, Ivory eauh 4 6 

Plotting Scales, 6-in., best Ivorj' „ 30 

Protractor, 6-in., four 'ines, do. „ 56 

Do. 6-in., eight lines, do. ,.. ,, 76 

! Sector, 12-in. folding. Ivory ^, 76 

through any Agent, care being taken to secure those supplied by Messrs. 
to the supply of any article ordered. Vie PvhUsh^-s utU be happy to sffnd it 


■An ILLUSTRATED CATALOGUE of Mathematical Instruments, Coloiu- Boxes, and School 
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